Faith for Life: God doesn't operate a zero-sum game
This summer, my husband and I put our house on the market. Although I’m pretty observant to begin with, there’s nothing like having your house on the market that makes you notice other homes that are for sale, particularly those that are marked “sold.”
Despite the fact that we did several updates to make our house as sellable as possible, the more “sold” signs I noticed on other properties, the more I wondered how long it would take to sell ours.
When I caught myself worrying about it, it’d almost always have to deal with the fact that things were not happening according to my timing. So I’d have to give myself a little pep talk, taking time to remember that God is in control, that our times are in God’s hands, and that everything would work out.
It was a bit of an endless cycle: I’d start to worry, I’d say a prayer, I’d feel better for a while, and then I’d pass another “sold” sign and start worrying all over again. Then one day, it hit me: I was operating out of a sense of scarcity rather than one of abundance.
It was important for me to realize that distinction because in my experience, there is little that can make you feel distanced from God as quickly as focusing on what you don’t have or comparing your life to someone else’s. That’s because God doesn’t operate out of sense of scarcity but one of abundance, which means that with God, it is not a zero-sum game.
In a zero-sum game, when one person gains, another loses. But that’s not how things work in the Kingdom of God. In other words, just because one person is blessed, in this case by selling their house, it doesn’t mean that blessing was taken from someone else. Rather, with God, there is more than enough to go around – more than enough time, more than enough blessings, more than enough love.
Of course, it’s not always easy to see how this is the case, especially when we are looking at things from our limited point of view. But since “faith is being sure of what is hoped for, and certain of things not seen,” it is these times when we hold fast to God’s promises even though we can’t necessarily see the fruit of those promises (yet) that spiritual growth happens the most.
As we grow in faith, it becomes more and more natural to look at things with an attitude of abundance rather than scarcity. And the more we look at things with an attitude of abundance, the more joy and peace we’ll experience for ourselves and want to share with others.
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Kari van Wakeren is a pastor at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and blogs at hiccupsandsomersaults.blogspot.com.