Hoarding what could be yours

Originally uploaded by baddogwhiskas.
To say we are living in a time of scarcity might be a bit preemptive, if not outright arrogant, coming from a country that is a bastion of wealth and resources. The measure of our scarcity or abundance seems to be directly related to the numbers in our bank accounts. When times are good, and the numbers are high, it is easy to see our greed. When the numbers are down, and times are bad accusing greed is dangerous territory. The one constant is how we rise or fall with the numbers in our accounts. And when things are as they currently are, we tend to hoard, skimp, withholding all as means of protecting our self-interest.

I’ve never been one to have a surplus of numbers in my accounts. So, I’m left to ask the question, “What and where am is my greed if it is not in my checkbook? What am I hoarding in a time of scarcity?”

The answer that smacks me like the sub-zero winds across my face is my gifts. I say gifts because to say talent would seem presumptuous, and in the end anything I do well started as a gift in my creation.

There is an oft-referenced story told by a certain Rabbi about a man who had an overly abundant harvest. The Rabbi says, “He said to himself, ‘what will I do with this enormous surplus?’” The key word, oddly enough, is “himself.” To the culture the Rabbi was speaking no one lived in isolation except the insane and cursed; significant decisions were not made without consulting others in the community because those decisions affected everyone… not just the individual. Certainly, a foreign concept to our Western mindsets. So, when the man asks himself what to do with his abundance – which ultimately was a gift – he was robbing the community (and himself) of a gift to share. The Rabbi goes on to say that once this man had built storage units for his abundance, God called him a true idiot, pointing out that all that he had was gift, even his very breath and soul, and that night he was losing it all. The point not being that God is some vengeful angry entity ready to take anything we think is good, but that when we hoard to ourselves we are as good as dead anyway… a life wasted. As if to say, “You aren’t using it anyway so you won’t miss it when it’s gone.” Or so it can be read.

So I am left to wonder why I would hoard the talents I’ve been given, For it is in the sharing that they are best used. It is in the sharing that they take flight – something that never seems to happen huddled in my arms held tight. It is something akin to “you be you, so we can be we.” If you don’t live out of who your really are then in the end we never are fully who we are. You have something, a gift we each and every one of us need, as do I. If all we ever do in these times of scarcity is hoard to ourselves then we all lose out, and ultimately, are as good as dead.
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