Scarcity and Abundance

I recently posted this over at the IF:Amarillo blog, but it seems like this might be something all my adoptive parent friends can relate to so I am reposting it here. My two little boys were adopted from Uganda and have been home for almost six months now.

And for these little boys that spent most of their life in an orphanage? You should see the wonder on their faces at the abundance in their life now. They live with unbridled enthusiasm most of the time.

Most of the time.

But you don't experience loss and hardship like that without it leaving its mark on you. And their marks often show up at mealtimes. They have what is referred to in adoption as scarcity issues. They are afraid there won't be more.

They turn into rain-men and can tell immediately if anyone got one more roasted potato piece than they did, or if there was a few less drops of soup in their bowls. Usually a gentle reminder that there is more if they need it is enough to calm the storm. But not always. Sometimes it really is just a snack and there isn't anymore of that right now. Sometimes they want something really bad and they just can't keep it under control.

The wonder disappears. The face twists. It isn't pretty. Because for that time, they completely forget that God has placed them in a place of abundance.

Here is the thing though: I'm no different.

When I was little I would hoard stickers, afraid to use them or they would be gone. I've spent so much of my life afraid that there wouldn't be enough that I almost never fully used what I had. Eventually it would get lost or just disappear in the shuffle, never being used for its intended purpose.

I wish it were different, but I'm still the same. I live in scarcity when I have been given abundance. Life in a fallen world has left its mark on me as well.

"A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance." John 10:10

Last week I was reading 1 John and I loved it, but I found myself reluctant to move on...what if I don't hear from God in the next book? What if I don't get filled up?

Sometimes I write blog posts and just save them to the archives because I'm afraid there won't be something to write tomorrow...What if I run out of words? What if I can't do it anymore?

I live like I haven't been given life abundantly. The thing is, I'm not promised another blog post, and I'm not even promised a spiritual experience every time I open the word of God.

But I am promised life more abundantly. There will be more. I just have to be open to what God might serve up next.


Friends, this is where it gets hard. I think sometimes in church we have a little bit of a scarcity issue. We hoard, afraid of sharing. Afraid someone else might not do it right, afraid if we open our hands it might not come back.

And just like that distortion of my boys' face, or the twisted heart that can't move on, it makes the church ugly.

I'm not knocking the church...I am the church. And I think I've made it clear that this is my issue too. We are broken and it has left its mark.

So what do we do? How do we walk into the abundance that he has given us?

I think we have to leave it all on the table. I think we, in an act of huge faith, will have to consume our feast. We will have to share our feast with generosity. We will have to let the bread and wine serve it's purposes. And then we will have to trust that, while it might not be the exact same meal, God will provide his people with another spread.

We have to be willing to be completely used up for His purpose for us right now and not worry that we will lose our significance in one bright and shining act, but trust that He will always use a willing heart for His purposes.

Come to the table with us. Come break bread. Pour out. Leave it all there. Let's live together in the beauty of abundance.