Scarcity versus Abundance
I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
Psalm 81:10
In 1989, one of the first business self-help best-sellers, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People,” was published. In it, author Stephen Covey promotes the idea that principles and ethics, what he labeled “habits,” are most effective for leaders in meeting goals rather than relying on sheer talent or personality. These shared “habits” lead to an understanding and acceptance of our interdependency with all other constituencies in achieving our goals. No man is an island, after all.
Within his framework, Covey contrasts a “scarcity mindset” versus an “abundance mindset.” Scarcity is a zero-sum game — there is not enough for both me and you, whether that is responsibility, recognition, or, most importantly, resources, such as people and money.
A mindset of abundance, on the other hand, sees that there is more than enough to go around, and the possibilities are endless, or at the very least, more than an either-or proposition. There are enough resources or “success,” however you define it, that all of us can share.
I don’t know about you, but as retirement becomes less of something way out in the future and more and more real with each passing birthday, an inflationary economy and stock market performance like this past year wreaks my IRA and pushes me more toward a mindset of scarcity rather than abundance. Will I have saved enough money to last for the length of my life post-retirement? Do I need to work longer?
There is biblical evidence that scarcity existed during the times of the Old Testament and New. The Levitical law commands that those affluent enough to have land to harvest should leave the edges and corners of their harvest for the poor and the immigrants to glean, enabling them to have honest work and feed their families (Leviticus 23:22). The jubilee year (Leviticus 25) requires freeing slaves, forgiving debts and rest for the land and laborers. Jesus feeds thousands who are hungry out of a pittance of five loaves and two fish with leftovers in abundance. Yes … there is scarcity throughout these biblical times, but in God’s economy, when we share from our abundance, as Jesus demonstrated, there is enough for all.
“Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” For generations, the children of Israel continued to feel the insecurity of when their ancestors were slaves, when they were wanderers in the desert. God tells them to open wide, and He will feed them until they are full. Just like He did through the manna in the wilderness. Just like He does each and every day.
Open your mouth wide … and the Lord will fill it.
The Rev. Sharron L. Cox
Associate for Outreach, Pastoral Care and Women's Ministries
If you know someone who would like to receive our daily devotions,
please forward your copy to a friend.
To reply to this devotional, please email
the Rev. Sharron Cox at