I’m reading through the book of Mark again. Trying to look at it with new eyes… eyes to see Jesus at a deeper level. How he treated people, his responses and his reactions. Who he built relationships with, who he stopped to spend time with and the meaning behind his actions and parables. Of course, it’s hard to really know a person by just reading about their life and never having a chance to actually sit-down with them face-to-face. But this is the reason we read biographies, isn’t it? To get behind the scenes and learn a little more about people.
If what Jesus said is true; to know him is to know the Father (John 14:7), then I want to know Jesus. I want to know him better, have a long sit-down over coffee that lasts all day and well into the evening.
All through the book of Mark the theme of Jesus’ compassion runs thick like honey. Almost every chapter drips of it. He was never too busy to stop, look someone in the eyes and heal them, speak to them, feed them. Twice he feeds 1000’s of people with only what they had. Jesus might have had actual scarcity, but he didn’t let that stop him from compasion, serving and providing. In chapter 8 of Mark, we see him feed what theologians estimate is close to 9000 people (this wasn’t the first time, jump back a couple of chapters to 6 and you’ll see him provide abundant food for 10K+).
Imagine the scene; out in the middle of nowhere (literally), hot, dry, 1000’s of people. No stores, nothing. If you look closer that this scene, you’ll see something richer than the sparsity and dry wind of scarcity blowing. You’ll see opportunity.
Jesus doesn’t see scarcity or lack of food, he sees opportunity.
I’ve worked in the church for close to 15 years now. It doesn’t matter what church, what denomination, what size or where the church is located there is always a concern about “enough”. Enough people, enough giving, enough volunteers, enough supplies, enough leaders…. there’s just never enough.
Actually, I think there probably is, enough… we are just not embracing opportunities like Jesus did.
We have a scarcity mindset. We look at other ministries, other people and we compare. And when we compare it creates in us limitations and inadequacies and immense sideways energy. We believe because we don’t have, there’s something wrong. And all that does is make us blind to the potential right in front of us. In both of the stories in Mark about Jesus feeding the 1000’s, he asked the disciples, “what do you have?”. The guys simply looked at what they didn’t have and assumed they were hosed. But Jesus can work with anything~ even a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish.
For years we’ve battled volunteer and leader deficiency, because honestly we haven’t been willing to employ what we have right in our midst. We overlook students as some of the best team members to lead youngers (and honestly, to speak fresh truth into us “olders), we limit women from using their gifts in certain roles because of gender, we neglect building teams because somehow we’ve got it into our heads that only someone with a title can do certain things. This limits our potential, and it actually hurts the Bride of Christ.
Please hear me, I’m not pointing fingers at anyone in particular. This is not a male/female debate or Boomer vs. Millennial argument. Scarcity shows up everywhere. It’s shows up woman-to-woman… I’m almost certain that the root of most gossip, jealousy and drama between women is because of scarcity. We hear someone sing or speak and we rip them apart instead of celebrating. She isn’t qualified for that job… I could do that job so much better. It happens across the board from church-to-church, men toward women, women toward men. It creates in us an inability to share, to collaborate and to work together, thinking there’s not enough to go around for everyone. Somehow what others have or accomplish makes us feel less than, unworthy, insufficient, instead of causing us to celebrate for them/with them and look at the potential of what we have and what God wants to do through us, in us and for us for a collective potential.
Scarcity is causing us the division that we all weep over. Scarcity is the core of fighting, fear and freaking out. Scarcity puts us against each other instead of loving each other. Scarcity is the battle; other people and other churches are not the battle.
What if… what if we leaned in to Jesus’ question, “what do you have?”. What if we started celebrating each other, instead of vying after what everyone else is doing, or has, or is. What if we trusted the gifts the Holy Spirit has given people and released them to be all they were created to be instead of holding them back to satisfy human conditions. What if we helped the church down the street to succeed because there’s enough people to go around?
Scarcity is cheap. It floats in your pocket or wallet like copper pennies, weighing you down, giving us the illusion of more, when really we just have a handful of copper that we clinch so tight that it’s of no benefit to us or anyone else. Clinging to scarcity and the lie that there is not enough (fill in the “enough” blank)_________ is debilitating. What if the little boy in Mark 6 would have hid his bread and fish because of scarcity? All those people would never have seen that miracle.
I’m asking where scarcity lies under the surface of my confidence… still. I want to be multiplied for a greater potential. A collective potential for the body of Christ. I don’t want scarcity to paralyze what God created me to do or what he wants for His Bride. And I want the same thing for you, for all of us. We don’t have to defend our place on the planet, there’s room for everyone and everyone is created for a purpose. I’m forcing a new mindset, how about you?