“What a disaster,” conjures up many pictures in our mind like coffee spilt on a paper you need to hand in, the car during spring or your house after too busy a week. I have to admit that sometimes I have cooking disasters. Those are the meals when I say, “You won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t eat this.” After the meal with the expected leftovers I would say, “throw them in the garbage they aren’t worth a rerun.”
Sunday at church (that certainly dates this blog) the Speaker spoke about how we often say thank-you to people who give us our groceries at the checkout or thank you to the server who gives us a meal. She made the observation that we seldom say thankyou to the people who are really important in our lives. Things like thank you mom and dad for your love and support. Do we say thank you to a co-worker or superior who always has your back and supports you. What about our spouses who love us anyway. I realized that I need to say thank you more to the important people in my life. Then Erica asked the question, “How often do you say thank you to God?” Hummmmm, not enough. Then with the accuracy of a marksman she said, “what if tomorrow only held the things you expressed gratitude for today.”
WoW, God had spoken! All of a sudden my meal time disaster wasn’t about a culinary delight and my entitlement to have the best. It was about a meal that was nutritious even though it didn’t taste great. I became aware of the multitudes of people who eat some form of porridge or gruel as their daily diet.
I have to tell you that I sent a lot of texts after this sermon expressing gratitude to the people I love. Bye the way, did I tell you how grateful I am to you
Scarcity or Abundance
Some may call it nagging others persistence but I know it to be Grace. Most days Ron invites me to go walk with him or to exercise with him. This is grace because I would not exercise on my own. Ron is helping me to do what I cannot do for myself. Just as Jesus gave himself so that we can be saved we demonstrate grace when we give ourselves in helping others do what they cannot do for themselves.
It is difficult to experience God’s grace when we live from a place of scarcity, a feeling that there just isn’t enough: enough of God, enough of me, enough food, enough mercy to include and forgive all faults. I remember early in our Officership hearing Officers complain about not having enough and I wondered because we have always had enough. Maybe what they were saying was they weren’t getting what they were worth! In reality living life from a place of scarcity impedes are ability to imagine a God whose love is infinite and everlasting. The Psalms are full of this movement from scarcity to recognizing the abundance God has provided and the expression of gratitude.
God’s abundant provision is demonstrated in the “multiplication” of food stories in the Gospels, when Jesus feeds a crowd with very little (for example, Matthew 14:15-21). The real spiritual point is grace and not some mere physical miracle. Notice in almost every case, the good old apostles, who represent our worldview of scarcity, advise Jesus against it: “But how will two fish and five loaves be enough for so many?” Jesus is trying to move them from their worldview of scarcity to a worldview of abundance, but does it with great difficulty. In the end there is always much food left over, which should communicate the point that life offers more than enough of itself, it is an inherent overflowing. Observe the seeds, and pollen of the natural world.
Our unhealthy economics and politics persist because even Christians largely operate out of a worldview of scarcity: there is not enough land, healthcare, water, money, and housing for all of us. A saint always knows that there is more than enough for our need but never enough for our greed. In the midst of the structural stinginess and over-consumption of our present world, how do you possibly change consciousness and teach the mind to operate from mercy and graciousness?.
Only a personal experience of unconditional, unearned, and infinite love and forgiveness can move you from the normal worldview of scarcity to the divine world of infinite abundance and gratitude. That’s when the doors of mercy blow wide open! That’s when we begin to understand the ABUNDANT GRACE of the