06 February 2009

Abundance

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

This parable is sometimes known as The Parable of the Rich Fool. I may say to my adult children, should they bless me with their confidence, they are choosing unwisely, to caution and thus shape their ideas and choice. I hope the parable writer is speaking to the rich person in this manner. But I hear a rebuke too. I sense God is speaking directly to a person who, while blessed with ‘ample goods’ is also a person takes abundance for granted, indulges appetites and enthusiasms, foolishly believes in his or her efforts alone.

America’s capitalist and commercial cultures wrap us in visions of abundance. They are woven into the fabrics of our lives. We are surrounded by them. Our lives do not look like Dorthea Lange's depression era image of a mother, surrounded by her children, pondering her plight. I wonder how the mother might consider “abundance." I don't think she's saying, "I have nowhere to store my crops."

I believe abundance is composed of eight resources.

FINANCIAL ~ Having the money to purchase goods and services.

EMOTIONAL ~ Being able to choose and manage emotional responses, particularly in negative circumstances, without engaging in self-destructive behavior. This is an internal resource and shows itself through stamina, perseverance, and choices.

MENTAL ~ Having the mental abilities and acquired skills (reading, writing, computing) to cope with daily life.

SPIRITUAL ~ Believing in His purpose and guidance.

PHYSICAL ~ Having physical health and mobility.

SUPPORT SYSTEMS ~ Having friends, family, and backup resources available to call upon in times of need or trouble. There are external resources.

RELATIONSHIPS/ROLE MODELS ~  Having frequent access to adults who will nurture and care for you, and your needs, as a unique and valuable creation of God, and who do themselves not engage in self-destructive behaviors.

KNOWLEDGE OF HIDDEN RULES ~  Knowing the unspoken “cues” and “habits” of a social group. These unspoken cues are passed along in day-to-day human relations.

I try to do all I can, with all I have, all the time. I bet the mother does too. How about you?

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