One of the best-known stories of Jesus is the story of the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes—the miracle of the feeding of more than 5,000 people from almost nothing. What a rich, rich story that is; for me, it’s a story of “abundance thinking.”
Abundance thinking is choosing to believe without question that everything that is necessary is already present, if we look deeply enough and become open enough to see it. It’s a choice to see solutions where others see problems. It’s a choice to be receptive to whatever may come, because we know the resources to get through will become evident.
This is the opposite of “scarcity thinking.” When we say, “there isn’t enough to go around,” we are coming at things from a perspective of scarcity. We panic, because if we open ourselves, we might lose something. We might not have enough for ourselves. Scarcity thinking influences everything we do—it becomes the lens with which we see the world and the people around us.
I think the great miracle of that story was not the bread and fish; I think it was the move of the disciples from scarcity thinking to abundance thinking in about a minute and a half. From ‘we can’t possibly’ to ‘we can.’ The wonder of the day is the transformation of the disciples. They move into a different way of understanding faith, and God, and what the kingdom of God looks like; they see that the kingdom of God isn’t away somewhere, in someone else’s hands. It’s not to be bought and paid for as some sort of simple transaction that will solve a problem. What they learn is that the realm of God is abundantly, overflowingly at hand, from the resources that are already there, from what is already within; it changes what they do and empowers them for the rest of Jesus’ ministry, and their own. They won’t always remember—they will sometimes slip back into old patterns. What they learn on this day, though, is that this abundant kingdom-of-God way of being in the world changes everything about what they do and who they are. It changes us as well. -orig 11.2014
Michelle Bogue-Trost is a devoted follower of Jesus, a pastor, preacher, leader, teacher, and mentor, committed to the health of individuals and congregations.