For years now we’ve been hearing about shortages.
There is a shortage of food, which explains why one fifth of the world’s population is hungry and malnourished.
There is a shortage of jobs, which explains why so many people are unemployed or on welfare.
There is a shortage of trees, which explains why so many colleges and corporations are going paperless and so many public restrooms now use those confounded blow dryers.
There is a shortage of money, which explains why the government keeps printing it around the clock, day after day, week after week, and month after month.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Well, guess what. It’s all a big lie.
Numerous studies have shown that the world produces enough food to feed every person on the planet several times over. There are several reasons why we’re not doing it, with waste and mismanagement being right at the top of the list.
A shortage of jobs? Please! There’s plenty of work that needs to be done everywhere you look. The problem is that too many people are lazy and unimaginative.
A shortage of trees? Just plant more!
Ah, but what about money? Yes, it’s true. Our government prints it around the clock. But only because it’s easier to do that than to control spending.
Friends, I encourage you not to believe what you’re hearing about all these shortages. We are not living in a world that is shriveling up and dying. Rather, we are living in a world that is being mismanaged on an epic scale.
And no, I’m not an environmentalist. You’ll not find me flinging myself to the ground in front of a bulldozer or chaining myself to the trunk of a tree.
What I am is someone who believes in good stewardship…someone who believes there is a right way and a wrong way to manage everything. This business about shortages is simply a way for people to absolve themselves of the sin of bad stewardship…and to trick naive people into looking the other way instead of at the real problem.
Take the government, for example. The next time you hear a group of politicians say that we need to raise taxes because we don’t have enough revenue, remember that they are the same people who gave the University of New Hampshire $700,000 to study methane gas emissions from dairy cows.* (And yes, that means exactly what you think it means.)
But good stewardship doesn’t start in Washington, it starts in people’s hearts. People like you and me. We have no right to talk about corporate or government waste when our own lives are a wreck. Think about it. How ridiculous is it for a person who is up to his ears in credit card debt to complain about government spending? Yet it happens every day.
Jesus said, “First get rid of the log in your own eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
So it starts with us. We need to get our own houses in order, stewardship-wise. If we do, our families will feel it first. Then our churches, our communities, our country and, eventually, our world. A tall order? For sure, but we’ve got to start somewhere.
Anything is better than continuing to buy the lie.
(An excellent resource for this subject is The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist [Norton, 2003]. She exposes the myth of scarcity very convincingly.)
*Google the words “Crazy Government Expenditures” and you’ll find this infuriating bit of info and many others just like it. A bit of advice: you might not want to do this if you already suffer from high blood pressure.