How much of our lives is dedicated to finding ways around our limitations?
Right wing politics says we shouldn’t limit what resourceful people can do.
Left wing politics says we shouldn’t limit who gets access to resources.
Both sound good, until they end up scrapping over how to distribute limited resources – from money and commodities to energy, time and attention – quite a lot of what we have to deal with. If everyone wants more of everything good, that is a real challenge to organise.
Is there a basis for a satisfying life which doesn’t depend on limited resources? Is there such a thing as a resource which can be multiplied without limit, and yet is still valuable and desirable?
I believe there is, and that we all have experience of this. It’s what creativity is all about. We’re not allowed to create money – if I want to give you five pounds, I have to lose that money, not photocopy it. But if I give you an idea, and you give me an idea, we both have more than we started with. People who work creatively, who live by “win-win
” and build rewarding relationships, and those who work to bring out the best in someone else without fear of being diminished themselves – these are real creators of wealth.
I also believe in a creative, creator God – the only real source of anything limitless – who loves to give us good things which can be multiplied and given away without us having any less when we do. Church founder Paul lists some of these things and calls them “the fruit of the spirit
“, products of God’s character in us – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Give any of these out and you have more, not less, for yourself. Christians believe we can’t do that on our own, however – only if we’re in relationship with God, the source of all that good stuff.
It isn’t easy to do this consistently when we are challenged by the fear of running out of physical things we know are in limited supply. If there is one seat left on the train and we have to rush for it, someone will get it and someone won’t. If there is one slice of chocolate cake left at the counter, and two customers ahead of me in the queue, there’s a good chance I won’t get it. I’ll be honest – sometimes it is the little things like that which, for me, get in the way of grand ideas about the abundance of really important things. That’s a work in progress. What I am learning is how some pleasure lasts, and some doesn’t.
So a life without limits could be about striving to organise better, or to grab quicker, or to change focus onto things which don’t run out and can be multiplied sustainably. Maybe more than one of these.
What are you looking for, and how is it working out?