PB on abundance in times of scarcity

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has written an essay for Episcopal Life about opportunities in these challenging times. Bishop Katharine suggests that while some choices may be diminished by the financial downturn, there are ways in which we can find abundant blessings.

Economic restriction of household budgets can be an opportunity to reflect on the difference between wants and needs. Living more simply involves a series of choices that can bless us as well as others around the globe, for our own patterns of consumption have direct impacts on greenhouse gases, the availability of clean water and the price of food, both nearby and far away.

Think about eating lower on the food chain and from sources closer to home. Eating plants costs less both in economic terms and in environmental impact. It also makes more food available for others. Eating more locally produced food also usually costs less, as well as reduces the environmental burden of transporting that food. It also helps to build a sustainable community – support your food-producing neighbors!

I agree whole-heartedly. Our society has been built on artificial abundance for the last few decades, especially the last few years. We have imagined that size matters: a bigger house and a bigger car mean greater importance. We have looked for “more important” jobs paying higher salaries to keep up these appearances. Meanwhile, our stress level has gone up and our quality of relationships have gone down.

So a new job and some downsizing might also lead to less stress and better relationships. These better relationships might include our families, our friends, and — most important — God. Perhaps God’s house will become as important as our McMansions.

Here is Bishop Katharine’s conclusion:

Counting your blessings can be an opportunity to develop a greater sense of compassion. Knowing the abundance in your own life can encourage liberality toward others, born out of the fundamental reason for all acts of stewardship – gratitude for the abundance we have been given.

Naming a sense of scarcity or shortfall also can be a motivation toward gratitude, for knowing our own dependence – on God and on others – is the root of the spiritual journey.

Reframe your perspective – look for abundance where the world sees scarcity – and discover a renewed sense of connection to, and love for, God and neighbor.


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