“We must confess that the central problem of our lives is that we are torn apart by the conflict between our attraction to the good news of God’s abundance and the power of our belief in scarcity.” (Walter Brueggemann)
It’s happening again. Acorns are falling from trees. They are everywhere.
I believe wrong things. The myth of scarcity is one of them. It comes pouring into my newsfeed. My television streams it. It permeates conversations with family and friends. My own thoughts teem with it. Many of my decisions are made because of it. And it’s downright wrong. A lie.
The myth of scarcity is the idea that there isn’t enough to go around. The world (and the God who created it) is lacking the resources to meet our needs. There’s not enough _______ (you fill in the blank) for me and those I love. At its root is the monster of fear. And as we all know probably better than we would like to admit, fear is a slave-making emotion. My reaction to its demands cause me to hoard, fret, close up and off, control, and protect myself physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Acorns speak something completely different, something that has been true from before the dawn of time. As I walk down my tree-lined street in these months of the fall, they are strewn everywhere. They crunch under my feet and get in my way as I try to get my 10,000 steps (see FitBit post). It’s almost ridiculous how many there are.
One morning, I was fretting over the lack of ________ in our world, and in my own family, and I saw with new eyes these acorns. They were abundant. There weren’t enough furry little creatures to gather, store up and eat these acorns in the coming months. There was a plethora of them. I was gently reminded again from my loving God about how the world began and how it really works.
The creation account in the beginning of the Bible is the story of God’s generosity. God’s force of life is loose in the world. His creation is endowed with fullness of vitality, encouraged to “be fruitful and multiply.” God’s goodness overflows from His creation. There is so much abundance and generosity, the time must end in a period of Sabbath rest (my most favorite part). The myth of scarcity is ultimately debunked.
In the last 24 hours, I went right back to believing the myth. I became caught up in the lack of personal safety in our world and specifically wondering (okay, looping) whether Rachel will be okay through Hurricane Irma. I told myself, “my 17 year-old daughter is by herself living in an apartment (well, her two 18 year-old roommates are with her…but that is not helping) 1100 miles away and a big storm is coming.” At midnight, I went right to “how can I fix this?” and my actions quickly followed. I scoured the internet for hotels and flights for hours. Talk about slave-making fear. I fell back into a fitful sleep hoping for different news in the morning.
The news was the same as I woke, but that didn’t matter to God. He provided an initial text from a good friend saying Rachel could come to Atlanta and stay with him and his girls. An acorn. Another text came from a friend in Sarasota saying their home was open and they have water and a generator. Another acorn. A third text came later from the same friend that she went to Costco and loaded up for the weekend with more than enough food and water. More acorns. (This was not what I was seeing on the news.) And now I have come to find out, it’s her husband’s birthday on Saturday. There will be a celebration in the middle of it all. A whole oak tree.
It doesn’t matter what the news is saying in Florida right now. It’s the myth of scarcity: “Not enough food, not enough water, not enough gas.” But God has spoken what’s true. He’s got all the acorns in the world. He is filled with abundance and generosity. He is never lacking. And He will do “exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ever ask or imagine.” And you know what, because of His generosity, I might just be able to take my own Sabbath rest in the middle of it all. I needed these acorns today. I hope you have some too.
(One caveat. I know this is not Family Friday worthy. I’m sure you can forgive me.)