Emily Lewis   |   May 21, 2015 


A couple of years back, on my birthday, I was composing an email to my mom. It was on the topic of some money I'd collected from birthday gifts. All I really wanted was a pair of light-weight running shoes I could take with me when I traveled, but they were more expensive than the regular kind. Though I had the money, I was torn by a desire to be frugal, and simultaneously dismayed that I wouldn't be getting the gift I'd wanted.

As I was copying links from Amazon.com into Gmail, I mis-clicked the copy button and accidentally pasted what was already on my digital "clipboard" into the email.

What the text on the clipboard happened to say was: "Remember, you are the cheapskate, not God."

I read the text again, telling myself it​ was coincidence, but already feeling convicted. There I was, skimming off from the top of money He had blessed me with, to get less than I had hoped for. Why? Did that sound in the spirit of a God "who gives generously to all without finding fault" (James 1:5).

For years savvy marketers and corporations have discovered that if they tell you that you are “broken” or “incomplete” without buying the latest trend, tool, gadget or gimmick, they can sell a ton of their product. It's called “scarcity marketing” and there are mountains of research showing that it is a great way to make A LOT of money. Just look around you, it’s everywhere.

But it's a view of the world wholly and completely broken. It appeals to our most primitive fears and emotions, making us more individualistic and focused on getting ahead, even at the expense of others.

Scarcity means insufficiency of supply . . .  inadequacy . . . famine . . . or lack. 

This is the heresy of our age, that there is not enough. We kill our children for it. We hoard wealth while all around us people are dying for lack of the simplest of things: Toilets. Water. Love.

And the people of God are no exception. We are like sheep fighting at the feeding trough, next to a field of grain.

The sermon at church this last Sunday was on King David. You remember him -- the guy who took someone else's wife when he had a harem full of them? As the preacher read, I noticed a part of the story I'd never paid attention to before. When the prophet Nathan comes to rebuke him, God says this to David:

"I gave you your master's house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more" (2 Samuel 2:8).

The opposite of scarcity is abundance, which means an extremely plentiful or over-sufficient quantity or supply ... overflowing fullness.

That is the heart of God.

Have you ever wondered how "Do not covet" made it into the Ten Commandments? I mean, it seems a little out of place right there alongside murder and adultery. But the uniting theme of those gravest Thou-Shalt-Nots is that they are the sins that directly impeach the character of God.

Honour your father and mother, because God is a Father.

Thou shalt not kill, because God is the Author of life.

Thou shalt not bear false witness, because He is Truth itself.

And thou shalt not covet . . . because He is the God of abundance. All good things come from Him (James 1:17).

This is the word for the people of God:

"The Lord will send rain at the proper time from His rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them" (Deut 28:12).

And it is the abundance of God that emboldens Jesus to preach:

"Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow" (Matthew 5:42).

I'm the cheapskate, not God. I can be stingy with myself, and when I believe I am giving out of my own fullness (or lack thereof) and not His, I am stingy with others.

But when we give freely and live fully, we give witness to the God we worship, the God of abundance.



Photo Credit: Unsplash

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Emily is one-part wild adventurer, one-part novelist recluse, one-part creative entrepreneur, and one-part stay at home mom. Wait, is that too many parts? She loves to share her thoughts at seethesparrow.wordpress.com or, more succinctly, on Twitter @steviesmiff.

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One comment on “Abundance”

  1. I am sure I will need to reread your post when I have time to contemplate all that you said!!! You have challenged me to think big and think better of God. Thanks so much.

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