From Libby Glenn
I wonder how much of my life I live from the perspective of paucity.
Like right now, this morning, I feel the paucity of time. I feel stressed out about not getting enough work done yet this week because of some really time-consuming computer problems, and I simultaneously feel stressed out about not getting enough rest. And I have a headache (cause or effect of more stress?)
I can feel my shoulders, my arms, my brow clenching inward. A simple roommate request, another need that comes up, an invitation to friendly conversation, an opportunity to serve or to spend time in communion with God—these things are met from the defensive posture of paucity. Whether or not I do them, it is a begrudging service, a fearful grasping at my time.
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.
At other times, I have felt the paucity of other things. What might it be for you right now? Give it some thought. There are many things—tangible and intangible—where we might feel the “not enough” anxiety creep in, whether from time to time or as a constant hum.
When I read 1 Timothy 6:17-19 yesterday, I read it as it applies to the rich, since Paul speaks of them here. I noticed that this is not a dry self-help formula for the good life, not a principle of freedom through non-attachment. It is highly relational. God invites us into generous living and giving to other actual people, and God invites us into deeper relationship with him through dependence and trust, and then we “take hold of that which is truly life.” You may have had moments of grace in your life that you can look back on to be spurred on by saying, “Yes, that was happening there!”
But this morning, through God’s funny grace of giving me a picture, under pressure, my own balled-up insides, I’m realizing that this sort of open-handed living is much harder, and yet much more freeing, precisely when we don’t feel rich. And maybe, with the “uncertainty of riches,” we never will feel rich enough.
In those times of felt paucity, we start clutching, grasping, at the pieces that we have. The invitation I see in this passage is so relational, and God brings me into a sweet place of interacting with him, not just his ideas.
I imagine that I am holding onto four small stones in my hand. When I feel them threatened, my hold gets stronger, my nails dig into my palm, my forearm tenses. But, God, who comes so close to us, who enters our world, he walks beside me in this vey moment; he warms me with his love, and tears come to my eyes at his sweetness; he asks me to trust him. He knows that when I let go of my grip on those stones, I can hold his hand. I want to hold his hand. He is so kind, so gentle, so patient, so warm. He is right here—present. He loves me.
Lord, I’m sorry. I’m noticing that I often treat you as if you are stingy. I get so focused on myself, as if I’m out here on my own fending for myself, as if I have to get and keep what I can scramble for. I’m noticing it suck the life and joy out of me. I’m noticing how, when I get like that, I’m not seeing others, and I’m not seeing you. But you are so generous. You are the giver of good gifts. And I get to be like you and know you more through giving like you give. I want to experience you and your generosity through simply receiving your gifts as they come. Let me hold your hand, sweet Lord. Thank you for meeting me here.
Libby is so thankful for the good gift of this church community over the past 6+ years, and she is working towards being a psychologist someday. She likes to bike, travel, play games, take pictures, and have friends and strangers over. She is hoping that her hands will get more and more open as she grows up.