In every society, the question of distribution of resources looms large. There is ongoing conversation on an individual and communal level around the mindsets of scarcity or abundance. There are think tanks and governments, and NGOs, and faith-based organizations, and not-for-profits, and all sorts of other mechanisms that have been made to attempt to solve this question: What do we do with what we have?
Before we answer that questions I think I need a few clarifications. First, “what we have” isn’t just about money. It’s time, energy, food, shelter, a listening ear, a word of honesty, an encouragement, a giving of attention – there’s a lot that we have, especially when we take a second look.
Second, I think there are really two basic choices for the “what we do.” We can either give what we have, or keep it. The middle ground here would include things like loaning, sharing, or exchanging. Loaning and sharing lean toward the side of giving. Exchanging is a kind of keeping as the measure of what we have will likely stay the same (especially in an equitable exchange). So we are really looking at giving or keeping.
There is a third aspect to our main question which is important as it might inform whether we decide to keep what we have, or give it. We will likely ask, “to whom?” or “for what purpose?” I imagine my choices shifting dramatically depending on the answers here.
In every moment in every day we are confronted with choices about what we do with what we have. Do we give? Do we keep? Do we trust to whom we are giving? Do we encourage the purpose?
What kinds of answers do we need to have so that the things we, ourselves, have been given, can be kept or given again in the moments and ways they are needed?