My name is the Reverend Samantha Houser and I am one of your Associate Conference Ministers in the Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota Conferences and today I want to talk about the idea of a scarcity mentality. I was introduced to the idea of the ‘scarcity mentality during a rural ministry conference in the Eastern part of Iowa and the theme was to move from scarcity to abundance. I assume that the idea of a scarcity mentality isn’t new for folks and still when I turn on the news, or look through my social media platforms or host conversations with churches or pastors scarcity is a pressing theme. And it has been for the last few months.
How many times have we heard or seen or even spoken of ourselves…about the vaccine shortage, the labor shortage, the data shortage, the supply chain shortage, the income shortage, the compassion shortage, the capacity shortage? All of these connect directly to the understanding or the belief that what we need now, or what we need in the near future, is unavailable. AND this mentality leads to a mindset of insular-ness, self-preservation, hoarding. This mindset leads to an uptick in anxiety and depression.
Some have named that it isn’t just a mindset though, that these are real shortages that have real effects on real people and so I want to acknowledge the truth in that and then press us. I think it is especially important for me as a Christian leader, to be curious about how our actions, in response to these shortages…both real and perceived…reveal what we really believe.
Sometimes the scarcity mindset is based on our belief in self—that we aren’t enough and therefore we won’t get enough because our worth is tied to how God and the world interact with us. And sometimes the scarcity mindset is based on our belief that God isn’t enough—that even though we understand intellectually that God is a God of love or provision—God doesn’t actually have the ability to love or provide.
Of course, there are other ways that we hold onto the scarcity mindset but in this time of the ever heaping piles of scarcity I need to name that friend—-you are enough. You are designed by the creator and are worthy of joy and peace and satisfaction. And I also need to name that this faith journey that we are on is a journey of growth and so I offer the reminder that our sacred texts are filled with stories about God’s abundance and about Jesus’ promise of an abundant life.
So my hope is that we might all take time to be generous with ourselves, with our loved ones, with our colleagues and acquaintances and strangers so that we might interrupt the narrative of scarcity even just a little. And embrace a mindset of abundance…in whatever form that might take.