Thursday, February 12, 2009

Abundance in a time of scarcity

I walked through Concord Mills the other day with long strides and deliberate blinders. My goal was exercise, not shopping, and I didn't want to be tempted.

The daily economic news is enough to make even spendthrifts put locks on their wallets.
Everyone I know is cutting back: eating out less, putting off purchases, making do.

Budgetary discipline is good. Less focus on material acquisitions is even better. But spending all your time thinking about what you can't buy or shouldn't buy makes you just as much a slave to money as if you were spending all your time shopping or scheming to become wealthy. Either way, you're not living the free, abundant life that religions tell us we were created to enjoy.

I tend to get less antsy about money than about time. There never seems to be enough time to do all that absolutely must be done. So I live in a state of perpetual scarcity despite each day's reliable gift of 24 hours.

I daydream, as most of us do, about what it would be like to have an inexhaustible supply of both money and time. But the truth is that I would not necessarily be more free. True freedom is owning without grasping, giving without resentment, appreciating without craving more.

Yes, I know: This attitude won't pay the mortgage when you've lost your job and your savings. But most of our fretting comes long before we reach that point. And who knows? If we're used to seeing abundance in every circumstance, we might see it even then, in unexpected ways.

How has your faith affected how you deal with the current economic troubles?


Chris Bates said...

Thanks for this thoughtful piece. Your bio says your are the editor at the universal desk of the CO. What is the "universal desk?"

Anonymous said...

.' Either way, you're not living the free, abundant life that religions tell us we were created to enjoy" What hedonistic religions are you talking about? You must be yet another baby veal lost in the commercial world just waiting for Madison Avenue or the Media to tell you what to think next.

Jane Pope said...

Chris Bates, I am one of many editors on the universal desk, which is where all the copy editing and page design for the newspaper is done.

Anonymous, I am not talking about hedonism. One of my pet peeves is the sort of theology that teaches that faith leads invariably to material wealth. Living a rich, full life doesn't mean indulging every whim and buying whatever Madison Avenue pushes. What religions promise abundant life? Well, Christianity for one. Jesus said that he came that we might have life and have it abundantly.

Anonymous said...

Jane: I think you are about to get laid off-let go. I have not paid for my observer for months, but yet the hapless paper guy keeps bringing it. He has to bring me my Wall Street J, as it is paid for by the year. So ther is a free Observer waiting for me with my WSJ.

Noticed Allen Tate has seen the O's demise and has cut way back. And toyota of lake norman has thrived with outever buying one dime's worth of ads in the O.

Get over yourself Jane. If you can stand to work on your feet for 8 hours, I will tell you how you can get a job working retail.

Does Ann C really make 550k+ a year for having Rolfe's old job? I hope for your sake that your 401k-IRA is not wrapped up in MNI stock.

There is a fine line between laughing and crying.

Anonymous said...

Jane Pope - as much as I like to read your column, it is disappointing when comments are made against Christianity or religion in general based on perceptions v. fact. I really appreciated your response about living life to its fullest.

I am a lifelong follower of Jesus Christ, and unfortunately difficult economic times cause me to worry when I know better. My faith in Jesus Christ has gotten me through numerous difficult times, and I pray daily for family, friends and colleagues who are experiencing job transition, loss of their retirement savings, etc.

Iztok said...

"Jesus said that he came that we might have life and have it abundantly."

Jesus also said: "Keep on giving to everyone who asks you for something, and if anyone takes what is yours, do not insist on getting it back." (Luke 6:30) yet people don't take it seriously.

Anonymous said...

"Grasping at things can only yield one of two results: Either the thing you are grasping at disappears, or you yourself disappear. It is only a matter of which occurs first."


Catholic101 said...

My faith leads me to keep 1 Cor 7:29 in mind -- "To own goods as if you owned nothing."

They can take everything I own from me, but they cannot take Jesus Christ from me, nor me from Him. That's the ultimate comfort. I pray for those who cannot (or will not) say the same.