Monday, April 23, 2012

Looking Forward to April 29, 2012 -- 4th Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Exodus 16:1-3, 13-18 
  • Psalm 23
  • Mark 6:30-44 
The Sermon title is How Much Do YOU Have?  

Early Thoughts: Do you believe you have enough? Too much? Not enough?

Each of us has a choice. We can look at the world through a lens set to see abundance or through a lens set to see scarcity. And those lenses really do change what we see. It is sort of like the difference between an optimist and a pessimist. The optimist sees a pile of manure and gets excited--there just must be a horse around. A pessimist looks at the same pile and only sees a lot of messy, smelly, tiring work.

Some days it is very hard to see the abundance. Sometimes our lives seem to be nothing but scarcity. Certainly the advertising industry would like us to believe that. "If you only have ______ you will be happy" they say. The ads we see every day continually tell us that we are lacking something.

And of course sometimes life throws us a curve that makes it really easy to become convinced not only of scarcity now but ongoing times of scarcity. Say, for example, the closing of a major employer.

The people Jesus was speaking to understood this. Daily they struggled to get enough. When you have no food life is hard. But all of a sudden Jesus breaks some bread and shares some fish and all are fed with basketfuls left over.  The people wandering the desert knew what it was like to have nothing (and they had a memory of having had something).  Then Moses tells them that meat and bread will come to them, enough that all can be fed. I wonder how easy it was for them to believe it?

Our faith story promises us life, and that in abundance. The challenge is to see what we have in abundance each and every day. The Global Rich List tells us that we are all recipients of more abundance than we know ($28 000 annual income puts one in the top 10%). We can, if we choose,look at the world and see great abundance. We can, look past the scarcity messages (and realities). And we benefit when we do that.

How we view the world affects how we interact with the world. When we look around and see that things are scarce our common reaction is to hold tightly to what we have and to fight strongly to get more. But when we look around and see great abundance we automatically feel more inclined to share the wealth. WE end up being happier, more at ease, more relaxed. Living life in a scarcity mode is tense and worrisome. Living in an abundance mode makes it easier to deal with what life throws at us.

We will not always have everything we want. Sometimes we won't always have what we need. But we still can choose to focus on what we lack or on what we have in abundance. What choice will you make?

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