March 1

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Matthew 4:1-11

It is my observation that we live in a deep fear of scarcity. This is a reality that Jesus experiences, and I am fairly confident that this truth is a part of the human condition. According to most models of developmental theory (both generational and individual), we all experience times in our lives where we think in smaller terms about our own survival. A baby cries at the first signs of hunger pain because there is no ability to discern that there is a next meal. Indigenous tribes fight for fear of limited resources.. The fear of scarcity is a universal reality, yet this same fear is a primary source of our dualistic mindset and the strong desire to see the “other” as a competitor for limited resources.

There just isn’t enough. There isn’t enough land, enough food, enough wealth, or enough power. It isn’t a far leap to think that there isn’t enough love, compassion, grace … or even God to share. The former is the stuff of empires, military conquests, closed borders, and exclusive control by the few over the many. The latter is the stuff of privilege in religious life as well as notions of heaven and hell. Infinity is a nice notion; we just have no way to understand it.

Then comes Jesus into the wilderness … into our fear of scarcity. The temptation he himself experiences is to fear such scarcity. Not enough food … not enough fame … not enough power. But Jesus knows the infinite God whose gifts are abundant. 

So during this time of “giving up” in Lent (whatever that looks like), I would invite you not to come at it from the place of scarcity. Come at it from the perspective of abundance. Perhaps we will be surprised by just how much we actually have when we have “given up” the fear of scarcity! May today remind you of the abundant goodness of our God.

Lord, today grant me the eyes to live in your abundant grace. Amen.

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