Scarcity Mentality


Henri Nouwen wrote…

As fearful people we are inclined to develop a mind-set that makes us say:  “There’s not enough food for everyone, so I better be sure I save enough for myself in case of emergency,” or “There’s not enough knowledge for everyone to enjoy; so I’d better keep my knowledge to myself, so no one else will use it” or “There’s not enough love to give to everybody, so I’d better keep my friends for myself to prevent others from taking them away from me.”   This is a scarcity mentality.  It involves hoarding whatever we have, fearful that we won’t have enough to survive.  The tragedy, however, is that what you cling to ends up rotting in your hands.1

What are we (as ministry leaders) hoarding?

  • wisdom?
  • understanding?
  • skill?
  • ministry?
  • encouragement?
  • appreciation?

What are our people (those we lead) hoarding? Adding to the list above…

  • their time?
  • their talent?
  • their resources?
  • their witness?

If we are going to build an equipping culture, we can’t hoard. Equipping involves giving the ministry away–along with the knowledge, skill, wisdom, and encouragement to exercise it. If we hoard our resources, all the riches of the kingdom we stood to inherit will rot in our hands, never having been offered to those who are hungry for abundant life in Christ.

1Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ©1997 HarperSanFrancisco.