Out Of An Abundance Of Scarcity

What will you chose ?

Like many people, I have been running a lot to the store to get provisions and supplies while there is the national emergency regarding Covid-19. I did not realize that, with Spring, that the national pastime would change from baseball to searching for toilet paper!

Who could have known?

Indeed, this phenomenon has given new dimensional meaning to the “bottom line. “

What has given rise to all this pillaging of the supermarket aisles of paper products and cleaning supplies?

Somehow, all the lofty language that “we are all in this together “is not reaching a lot of people.

Micah 4:4 records:

“Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken.”

This text speaks of justice and the fair and equal distribution of resources.

Somehow, during this national emergency, all notions of justice and fairness have gone out the window. We are back to a consumer form of Social Darwinism (Herbert Spencer).

“He/ She who is resourceful and cunning enough and who is will to get up long before the sun rises can meet the delivery truck and be the first one to clean up on bathroom tissues.”

Meanwhile, others who cannot get to the store at such an early hour will be greeted with the vision of empty stalls that would normally hold essential supplies.

I heard a man observe recently who was in front of a large grocery store:

“I moved out here and built a house. I have a new baby and I need toilet paper”.

Once again, one wonders what Micah or Amos would say about the lack of access to resources that people need?

Granted, the current crisis is generating a lot of anxiety for citizens in our country, indeed in the entire world. The constant updates are generating grave concern and feel depleting to the human spirit.

The scarcity model tells people that you can’t have enough, that resources are few and therefore one must grab all that you can get, never mind who gets hurt or left behind. The important thing is “you have gotten yours. “

The abundance model, however, and in contrast, argues that there are resources for all, especially for those who are in great need. Abundance theory argues that all humans are blessed and that therefore charity, justice and grace should be extended to all.

The choice is ours. Do we want our current landscape to resemble a scene from hell in a Hieronymus Bosch painting, or do want to enter the land of “milk and honey’?

May we have the courage to choose abundance over scarcity.

May it be so.

The Rev. Peter E. Bauer is a longtime licensed clinical social worker and minister for the United Church of Christ. A LCL, he is also an Army and Navy veteran.