On a trip to Guyana, I saw a living example of the difference between a theology of scarcity and a theology of abundance. Partnering with the people in local parishes in Guyana has transformed my expectations of what can be accomplished with few resources.
I met with the president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana. He said that the annual income for the churchwide organization there is around 5 million Guyanese dollars. The U.S. equivalent would be $25,000 per year. This comes from offerings from only 48 churches, most with members living on less than $200 U.S. dollars per month. With that money, they support Sunday school, feeding programs for needy children and the homeless, and provide leadership training for laypeople and potential candidates for public ministry.
Perhaps being a global church means that we don’t have all the answers when it comes to faith and service… perhaps we here in the United States need the lesson in abundance from those who seemingly have so very little.
This message is excerpted from “Scarcity or Abundance?” by Jennifer Michael from the January 30, 2014, blog of the Women of the ELCA. Today we commemorate the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession, 1530; and Philipp Melanchthon, renewer of the church, 1560.
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