Scarcity Mentality or Abundance Mentality?

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.
— 2 Corinthians 9:8
© The Navigators. Do not use without permission.

© The Navigators. Do not use without permission.

A ministry leader was exasperated with fundraising and said humbly (but sadly), “I guess we will have to do more with less.” A friend, Lauren Libby, President of Transworld Radio, heard the comment and said, “How about doing more with more?”

“Scarcity thinking” produces humble sounding words. But what does it say about our view of God? What are indicators of a scarcity mentality among us Gospel workers?

  • Poor talk. Spiritualized complaining. “This economy is killing us gospel workers!”

  • Hopelessness. “My budget might as well be $1 million. I will never reach it anyway.”

  •  No bold plans. A leader canceled a vision-retreat because his team couldn’t afford it. “Why don’t you pay for the entire thing?” I asked. “Never thought of that,” he said.

  • Protect donors. “My donors will drop me if the national office goes after them.” Not true!

With a scarcity mentality, it’s as if God has given us a pie that has only a few pieces left. If others take from the pie, that leaves less for me. But can God enlarge the pie? Or create another pie altogether? Does God have cash-flow problems? 

At the risk of sounding like a wealth-preacher, here are two (of many) Scriptures that reveal God’s abundance mentality.

Since the contributions began to be brought into the house of the Lord, we [the Levites] have had enough to eat with plenty left over, for the Lord has blessed His people….
— 2 Chronicles 31:10 (Hezekiah’s campaign to support the Levites)
Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted.
— John 5:11 (feeding the 5000)

Does this mean we should be rich? No, hard times will come. The Apostle Paul experienced both. “I know how to get along with humble means and I also know how to live in prosperity….” (Philippians 4:12). When the prophet Elijah was in the wilderness, his “brook dried up” (1 Kings 17). 

Similarly, your “brook” might dry up now and then, but are you assuming that you will struggle financially for the rest of life?

Our text above shows God’s generous heart. He desires that we have “all sufficiency in everything.” Not wealth, but sufficiency. And not for ourselves alone but to have “an abundance for every good deed.”

A scarcity mentality is a contradiction to the One who makes all “grace abound to you.”

My friend, what about you? Does your life exemplify a scarcity mentality or an abundance mentality?

Prayer: Father in Heaven, I confess that I sometimes worry about “lack.” I know you supply for others, but I often wonder if you can supply for me. Help me to leave behind my “pie-crumbs theology.” May I know You as a God who delights to supply His servants. Amen.