A few years ago I bought a new soccer ball for my son Zachary on his birthday. I bought it so we could have something to play together. For me, it was more about what we could do together with the ball than it was the ball itself. There was just one problem. He had his heart set on some other toy. It was something more expensive than we could afford. When he saw the soccer ball he cried. It then escalated from simple disappointment to utter hysterics. Now, if I have learned anything as a dad it is there is no reasoning with a (then) 5-year-old so I just let him cry it out. He’s not spoiled. He’s a great kid. In the moment he was just too focused on what he didn’t have. He let it steal the joy of receiving a gift from his dad who loves him and wants to spend time with him.
Do you ever focus so much on what you don’t have that you miss out on what you do? I do.How can we keep the threat of scarcity from overtaking our families? [tweetthis]How can we keep the threat of scarcity from overtaking our families?[/tweetthis]
The psalmist Asaph dealt with this same threat and wrote about it in Psalm 73 (MSG). He writes,
1 No doubt about it! God is good –– good to good people, good to the good hearted.
2 But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness.
3 I was looking the other way, looking up to the people
4 At the top, envying the wicked who have it made,
5 Who have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world
For the next 11 verses Asaph admits feeling short-changed and envious. Then in verse 17 he shares how his perspective changed.
As a parent it can be easy to get lost in what I don’t have or can’t do. I want the best for our kids and can fall prey to threat of scarcity as I try to keep up with the Joneses. On Zachary’s birthday I remember feeling inadequate as a dad. Why couldn’t I come up with the money to get him what he really wanted? I’m a smart guy. Couldn’t I have chosen a more lucrative career? Scarcity was winning.
Asaph confesses scarcity was defeating him until,
17…I entered the sanctuary of God. Then I saw the whole picture:
When Asaph felt the wight of scarcity’s threat he entered the sanctuary. The sanctuary was a place where his full attention was on God and his perspective shifted. He saw the whole picture of God’s goodness and provision. I’m learning to do the same thing. I’m learning to be honest with God when I’m feeling short-changed, and ask him to remind me of his goodness. Thankfully, God is a God of grace. He doesn’t scold me for feeling as I do. Instead, he renews a right spirit within me (see Psalm 51:10). God changes my perspective. He loves me and wants to spend time with me. God wants nothing short of the best for me.
What do you struggle with as parent? How might God change your perspective? What might God have to teach you by his own example as our Father?