The Scarcity Mindset
Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. — John 6:1-5-13
There are so many beautiful lessons in this story. But the lesson I want you to see today is the damaging effects of a scarcity mindset. Nothing keeps a believer from seeing, knowing, and experiencing the greatness of God more than a scarcity mindset. Too often, we believe our greatest enemy is the unbeliever. But most of the time, it is not. The greatest enemy of the faith is a believer that does not believe. And in this story, Jesus will turn all the unbelievers into believers.
Now believers with a scarcity mindset come in two extremes. They are believers who see only the impossibility of present scarcity. Or they see the possibility of future scarcity. We see both extremes here. In Philip, we see a man who is stuck in the natural. He has a scarcity mindset about the available assets at present. So all he sees is an impossibility in the cost and availability of food.
In contrast with him, we have a boy. This boy has a basket of bread and fish. Now, stay with me. This boy is the opposite of what I am suggesting. He is not concerned about his possible future scarcity. Therefore, he hands them over his assets for the benefit of the crowd.
I want to focus on this boy for a moment because he is an intriguing example. In this situation, the person holding all the assets was a boy. It had to be a boy because he would have done the opposite if he had been a man. He would have protected his assets because of his concern about future scarcity. And how do I know this would have been his response? Because that's how I would have responded. Had someone come and tried to take my meal from my hand, I would have tightened my grip on that basket. It's my meal. I brought it. I worked for it. I planned this moment. And so, if we insert me into this story, my scarcity mindset regarding the assets in my basket would have resulted in scarcity for all.
So do you see and feel the tension in this text? It's the tension between the natural and the supernatural. It is the tension between my provision and God's provision. It's a tension between impossibility and possibility. And while this tension is often unseen, it grips a believer's mind. A reasonable focus on a present or future scarcity keeps us from believing in a God who can do unreasonable things. A God who can feed thousands of people until their bellies are full and return twelve times what he came with to a boy. Do you want that kind of result in your life? If you do, then maybe it's time to stop clinging to a present or future scarcity. Loosen the grip on that mindset and believe.
ASK THIS: Is it present or future scarcity that keeps you from believing?
DO THIS: Loosen the grip on the basket of unbelief.
PRAY THIS: God, I confess my scarcity mindset to you.
PLAY THIS: Miracle Power.
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