“So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from Him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.” (Matthew 6:33, Passion Bible)
One of my favorite worship songs is More Than Enough1 as sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. In summary, it speaks of GOD’s complete sufficiency as a provider, a healer, and the blessing of His constant presence. The song’s aim is to reaffirm in our hearts and minds that the person of GOD and the provision of GOD exceeds our every need. I can’t hear it or sing it without experiencing emotion that can’t be contained.
I firmly believe that the GOD I know has a storehouse of riches that is infinite in its abundance. I believe that abundance is a prime character trait of the economy of the kingdom of GOD. This is the economy which Jesus introduced to the world and for which His followers, His Church, has the responsibility to demonstrate and promote. GOD’s economy of abundance is in direct opposition to the economy of scarcity which characterizes the world and its nations.
The economy of abundance says there is enough of everything for everyone to have their needs met. There is enough food for everyone in the world to eat, there is enough work for everyone so that everyone can contribute to the whole, there is enough money so that no one needs to be destitute, there is enough space for everyone to live peacefully and safely, there is enough love for everyone to receive, there is enough compassion to share broadly…there is enough. In fact, there is more than enough. Cases in point are the occasions in which Jesus fed thousands out of what appeared to be very little. In both cases, there were leftovers after the multitudes were fed.
Conversely, the economy of scarcity says “no” to all of the above; there is not enough of everything for everyone. The size of the pie is finite, and the more some have the less others will have. Because the economy of scarcity says “no,” unused food is plowed under or stored and then often rots in one part of the world while people starve in another part. The economy of scarcity is why the richest 1% of the world’s population owns in excess 50% of the globe’s total wealth, a number that continues to grow for the richest and shrink for the poorest2. The economy of scarcity is why we will always have people living in homelessness and deep poverty, unable to find an escape. The economy of scarcity is why we create reasons to fear and demonize “the other” and need ways to keep “them” out (closed neighborhoods, privatized schools, gated communities and border walls which cost billions of dollars). The economy of scarcity effectively states that there is only so much opportunity, so much love, and so much compassion to go around and those who live outside the boundaries of privilege are not eligible to receive.
Sidebar: Imagine being able to use hoarded and misappropriated money to fund equitable public education, broad access to post high school education for those who want it, development of vaccines, cures, and other advanced medical protocols, expansion of non-fossil based energy sources to support the re-greening of the earth, universal quality support and care for the other abled, the disabled and the elderly…
I’m not fostering some utopian ideal or human-based political economy. Instead, at least in the realms in which the Church can exert influence, it is GOD’s economy of abundance where the rhetoric of grace is actually the reality of grace that abounds and where the will of GOD is done on earth as it is in heaven. Perhaps difficulty buying-in to this is because of a lack of belief that GOD’s way actually works (and a belief that the world’s way does).
The primary value in GOD’s economy of abundance is GOD’s righteousness. It is the natural extension of loving GOD and loving our neighbors as ourselves which Jesus declared as the two greatest commandments. The primary values of economies of scarcity are acquisition, self-promotion and self-protection. It is a natural extension of loving self and those closest to us above all else.
In GOD’s economy of abundance, there is recognition of human psycho-social and material needs (read or reread Matthew 6:33), but they are always secondary and come as a promised provision based on faith and obedience. In the world’s economy of scarcity, human needs, desires and preferences are always primary and are always subject to competition and conflict (between individuals, groups, regions, and nations).
So here’s my question for those who claim to be citizens of the kingdom of GOD. Which of these two economies is most evident in your life, not enough or more than enough? I ask the question of you (and of myself) because it goes to the heart of practicing what we preach.
- “More Than Enough” by Robert Lane Gay.
- “Richest 1% own half the world’s wealth, study finds,” The Guardian, US edition, 2017.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2021. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.