Friday, January 23, 2009
A World of Super-Abundance
For a brief period of time in college, I majored in economics (not that it ever helped me balance my checkbook!) I still remember the supply and demand graphs that we drew in mathematical economics - showing the impact that both forces have on prices. I have thought about that a lot in these days of economic crisis. When supply is limited, prices soar, until demand decreases, which brings prices back down. This has been evident in the recent rise and fall of gas prices - price responding to market demands. Everything in this world-view depends on a primal assumption - the law of scarcity. Because resources are limited, these laws hold true.
But what if that fundamental premise is wrong? What if resources are not limited? What if we do not live in a world of scarcity, but in a world of abundance - of super-abundance? That is the world given us in Scripture... from the story of creation, where this universe, spoken into existence by the word and will of the Creator God, literally teems with life... That is the world given to Israel in the desert, when, resources all spent, God miraculously feeds the people - bread and birds from heaven, water from a rock... That is the world given to a Lebanese widow in the days of the great prophet Elijah, whose meal and oil refused to give out, even in a time of severe famine...
Throughout the stories of the Bible, we are given glimpses and pictures that the real world is not the world of scarcity, but the world of abundance. Jesus, God's final and ultimate revelation lives his life in this world of God's super-abundance. He demonstrates this most powerfully in the miracle of the loaves and fish - feeding thousands with a pittance, and plenty left over. The world of the Creator God... the world of bread in the desert... the world of oil and meal that replinishes itself forever... this is the real world offered to us in the fullness of the kingdom that Jesus ushers in...
What if we really lived in a world like that? How would our lives be different? Would we quit stressing over our own appetites and desires to accumulate? Would we be empowered to be generous, outrageously generous, until "there was no needy person among us"? Would we live more simple and free, more available to God and others, more joyful and fulfilled - if we only knew that this super-abundant world of the gospel is the real world - not our presumed world of scarcity, where everyone grabs for their own piece of the pie, since there isn't that much to go around? Would we? I can only imagine!
Soli Deo gloria