February 17, 2019

A Mindset of Abundance and Gratitude

Have you ever known someone who has much more wealth than you have but is still not satisfied?  Have you ever known someone who has much less than you have but seems to exude contentment?  Most of us have known people in both of these categories.  We watch from a distance as athletes making millions of dollars a year quibble over their “unfair” contracts.  And then we hear gratitude and grace expressed by someone like Joni Eareckson Tada, whose diving accident as a teenager years ago left her a quadriplegic.

How do some people exude gratitude and contentment while others with much more in the way of earthly advantages seem to focus only on what they don’t have?  The difference is in the mind and in the heart, not in the circumstances and possessions.  As believers, we have put our faith in a God who is the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).  We realize that all that we have comes from God, including even our ability to produce wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18).

Knowing that everything we have – health, possessions, family, freedom, and so much more – comes from a good God leads us to a mindset of gratitude to the God who is our Provider.  And knowing that God is our Provider leads us to trust that he has provided for us everything he intends for our good and for his honor.  “I don’t have enough” becomes “God has provided all I need and more”.

So much of Scripture is about how we manage the resources God has entrusted to us, and our response to Scripture will depend on our mindset.  Consider a few examples:

  1. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” — Hebrews 13:16
  2. “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” — 1 Timothy 6:18
  3. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” — 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
  4. “Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” — Matthew 6:31-32

A mindset of abundance leads to peace and generosity; whereas a mindset of scarcity leads to anxiety and greed.  The abundance mindset realizes and lives the truth of Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.”  The scarcity mindset holds everything tightly.

Stewardship does not begin with budgeting, with debt reduction, or even with giving.  It begins with a mindset of abundance.  To move the stewardship needle in our congregations, we need to start there.