The Mindset of Abundance
One of the first written teachings of the Christian faith is a document known as “The Didache.” The first sentence of The Didache is “There are two ways, the Way of Life and the way of death, but a great difference between the two.”
The Way of Life is defined as the central commandments of the Torah, taught and lived by Jesus of Nazareth: Love the LORD your God with all you are, and a second one like it Love your neighbor as yourself.
The way of death is anything that is not Love. Which means the road that leads to death is paved with all of the shortsighted decisions we make, any of the harsh or violent thoughts or actions we take, anything that we do that puts our own needs and desires over the needs and desires of others.
According to our faith tradition, the way to get to life is through Loving-Kindness, forgiveness, mercy, freedom, mutual service, respect and care. Anything that is not those things…will lead us to our death.
In the present day, there are many other metaphors we could use to try and describe this universal, timeless spiritual truth. We could say, there are two ways of thinking, the Mindset of Abundance which leads to life and the Mindset of Scarcity which leads to death…and a great difference between the two.
When you experience scarcity—not having enough of something you need—your brain becomes captured by the “scarcity mindset.” Your thoughts are so consumed with what you don’t have enough of that you will be unable to learn, unable to think or problem-solve creatively, you will be obsessed with your own survival and well-being, the world appears to be a frightening and careless place, and you will be unlikely to hear about or care about the needs of others. (You can click HERE to find a book that teaches about the science behind this).
The Mindset of Abundance is a way of thinking rooted in the faith that God will provide MORE than you need. In this way of thinking, your own problems become opportunities to serve others. Your shortcomings become an invitation to form new relationships. The realization that you are human, mortal, imperfect and incomplete drives you to find a community that can love you for who you are and help nurture you in becoming the BEST VERSION of your incomplete, imperfect, mortal, human self.
When you see life and the universe as Abundantly Blessed, rather than scarcely supportive, your entire orientation to the world pivots. Thinking Abundantly does not mean that all your problems are solved and you want for nothing…it just helps you to see your own problems as opportunities to Love…and it makes you care about the lives of other people at least as much as your own…and that is the way that leads all of us toward life.
This last week has been a week filled with fear, violence, tragedy, hardship, despair, and division. We grieve for the lives lost in Pittsburgh on Saturday morning. We pray for our Jewish Siblings of Faith throughout America and throughout the world. We weep for the two people gunned down in a grocery store in Kentucky last week for having the audacity to be shopping with black skin. And we seek prayers for all human beings who become so trapped in their own scarcity mindsets that they forget their own humanity…and they commit inhumane acts.
It is ok to feel sad. Feeling fear is a natural part of life. But when sadness and fear control our thinking…we run the risk of losing the best parts of ourselves…and we run the risk of walking down a road that leads to death.
We must always remember that to be part of the Christian faith is to be adopted into the Jewish faith. It is the People Israel who God first entered into Covenant with…a Covenant that was extended to non-Jewish people, gentiles, through the witness and work of Jewish people like Jesus and his disciples. We must never be allowed to forget who taught us this Way of Life. God has invested much in us. When you were created, you were made in the Image of God…you carry a part of the Divine Light inside you wherever you go. You are a Co-Creator with God, you have the power to help determine what human life can look like and what living in this world can mean. God has given us love, freedom, and an endless flow of kindness and mercy…all the things we need to Love this world to Life…in Abundance.
May God’s Grace be with you today and every day,