In the story of the Bible, God is depicted as a generous host who provides for the needs of his guests. However, humans live from a mindset of scarcity and hoard God’s many gifts. In this video, we explore God’s inexplicable generosity.
In the story of the Bible, God is depicted as a generous host who provides for the needs of his guests. However, humans live from a mindset of scarcity and hoard God’s many gifts. In this video, we explore God’s plan for overcoming our selfishness by giving the ultimate gift of himself in the person of Jesus.Video Details
The story of the Bible begins with a beautiful portrait of God as a generous host, providing everything needed for his creatures to enjoy his good world. The narrative in Genesis 1 depicts God as the one who orders and energizes a creation that generates an overabundance of value. When God appoints humanity as his partners and co-rulers over creation, he supplies for all their needs and asks them to trust his generosity and live by his wisdom. And this all sounds great, until the humans begin to doubt God’s generosity.
Scarcity vs. Abundance
The garden of Eden story shows how humans are deceived by the ultimate lie, the idea that God is holding out on us and hasn’t truly given us what we need to flourish. You could call this a “scarcity mindset.” It focuses on what you don’t have instead of recognizing what has been given to you.
In the biblical story, when humanity operates out of a distrustful scarcity mindset, they begin to justify selfish behavior. The violence of Cain in Genesis 4, Abraham’s deception in Genesis 12, or Jacob’s lying spree in Genesis 27-33 are all explorations of what happens when God’s people live from a scarcity mindset.
The biblical story shows how God chooses one family through whom he wants to restore the blessing of abundance to all nations. Abraham and his Israelite children are supposed to be the vehicle of God’s abundance for others. However, throughout the Old Testament the Israelites live from a scarcity mindset, and it sets them on a course for self-destruction. The story of the Old Testament concludes with all humanity, even the Israelites, sitting in a mess of their own making.
Jesus’ Kingdom of Abundance
Jesus' work on Earth is God’s response to a history of human selfishness. In a great reversal of expectations, God decides to give the ultimate gift, himself. In Jesus we see the creator God identify with humanity’s suffering and plight of scarcity. Jesus chooses to go without adequate food and shelter, and he reached out to the homeless and hungry in order to share God’s abundance with them. Ultimately, Jesus allows the selfishness of his own people to kill him, and he overcomes their evil with his generous love in his resurrection from the dead. He invites his followers to live as if the future reality of God’s abundant Kingdom has truly arrived here and now.
An Abundance Mindset
The risen Jesus invites his followers to imitate his same life of generosity toward others. Living generously requires a posture of trust in God, and it’s all rooted in the conviction that God has given us all we need. If Jesus gave the ultimate gift of his own life for us, despite our selfishness and failure, then the only reasonable response is to extend that same loving gift to others. The story of Jesus has the potential to recreate us in the image of the generous God who loves to give abundantly.
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The first movement in the book of Genesis describes the world's downward spiral from God but reminds us that there's hope as God will rescue it from rebellion.