Abundance or Scarcity?

November 17, 2013

Martin B. Copenhaver

"Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around the table." - Psalm 128

So much of our scripture is a celebration of abundance.  The first chapters of Genesis are a song of praise for God's generosity.  With each act of creation, the divine refrain is, "It is good, it is good, it is very good."  And it pictures the Creator saying, "Be fruitful and multiply."

Many of the Psalms, including the one for today, survey creation and catalogue this abundance in loving detail and with joyful thanksgiving.

Then, in the Gospels, Jesus multiplies loaves and fishes so that there is more than enough for everyone.  At a wedding feast he turns water into wine, and more wine than could be consumed at a dozen weddings.  These highly symbolic stories speak of God's abundance.  There is enough, there is more than enough.

That's the biblical narrative.  But the narrative by which we are tempted to live is another story entirely, a story of scarcity, where there is never enough.  In fact, we are tempted to define enough as, "always something more than I have now."

In spite of all that has happened in recent years, we still live in the most prosperous country in the history of the world.

Do you live out of a sense of abundance or scarcity?  That may be an economic question, but certainly it is a faith question.

Prayer

O God, when I count your blessings, they are numberless as the sands, so I confess that I don't always get very far with my counting.  So I simply thank you for sharing your abundance with me.  Amen.

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About the Author
Martin B. Copenhaver is Senior Pastor of Village Church, United Church of Christ, in Wellesley, Massachusetts. A new edition of his book, Living Faith While Holding Doubts has just been published by Pilgrim Press.
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