Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
The readings for the day can be found here.
I am an economist. This means that I spend my days (and often my nights) thinking about the problem of scarcity in a world filled with seemingly unlimited needs and desires. I spend my days (and often my nights) thinking about what we might do to limit the constraint of scarcity so that people’s needs and desires might be met. When might free markets best deal with the problem of scarcity, and when might they fail?When might government help alleviate the pain of scarcity, and when might it fail? These are the questions I grapple with day in and day out as an economist, in the constant battle against scarcity.
I am a Christian. This means that I know the ultimate solution to the problem of scarcity. There is no scarcity in Christ Jesus. Born into poverty, in a stable among beasts, a washer of feet, a sailor in a borrowed boat, a rider of a borrowed ass, buried in a borrowed tomb. The apparent scarcity of it all is but an illusion. As the prophet Isaiah proclaimed,
On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.
As the Psalmist wrote, if the Lord is my shepherd,
…I shall not want…
…my cup will overflow…
…I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come…
And as Jesus’ disciple Matthew recounted,
…he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied.
As I keep watch and wait for the Lord this Advent season, I pray for the wisdom to recognize that the apparent scarcity in my life is but an illusion. I pray for the wisdom to remember that there is no scarcity in Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus, all are provided for; cups overflow; all are fed to satisfaction. With Christ Jesus in our hearts, we win the battle against scarcity, for ourselves and for all of those with whom we find plenty to share.
Dr. Bonnie Wilson is Associate Professor of Economics in the John Cook School of Business.