"Abundance: Trust vs. Hoarding" by Barb Szyszkiewicz (Franciscanmom.com)

#MondayBlogs: Abundance: Trust vs. Hoarding

I have a pantry in my basement. This is an old photo, taken when all the kids still lived here full-time and we went through several boxes of cereal each week. My pantry is less crowded now, because there are only three of us here full-time. I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of shopping for only three (or four, when my daughter’s home from college). This means that I wind up buying too much, and some of it gets wasted because it goes bad before I can use it.

But I feel the need to keep that pantry (and my upright freezer) full.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

There’s this threshold in my mind — this imaginary line I must not cross. I was down to less than a quart of milk on Wednesday, and I knew I wouldn’t get to the store before Friday. Never mind that I live 1/4 mile from the nearest gallon of milk; I was expending a lot of mental energy over the lack of “enough” milk in my house. It’s not like anyone around here (except me) even regularly uses milk. But that milk level was below my threshold of comfort, and it bothered me until Saturday morning when I finally made it to the store. We still had some milk in the jug. We had not run out. And as I said already, my neighborhood is not food-insecure.

Thinking about this gets me a little anxious — even now that I have almost a full gallon of milk in the fridge.

Where do I draw the line between having too much stuff that I “might need someday” and having enough to use for what I need right now, as well as something to share?

Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12: 25-26)

I’ve run into this issue before with medical supplies, but that’s different. VERY different. Medical supplies are non-negotiable, and I do need to be very aware of what we have, what we need, and whether there is enough.

As for the other things, how do I stop feeling that I must fill that available pantry space and instead be grateful for what is there? How do I dial back my threshold of “enough” when there is obviously plenty there? How do I trust enough to share from that abundance?

Because I really want to stop the worrying that kicks in when there’s only a quart of milk in the house.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

#WorthRevisit: By Weight and Not By Volume

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday, co-hosted by Elizabeth at Theology is a Verb and Allison at Reconciled To You.

Elizabeth’s post was themed “Bringing Forth Our Gifts,” and looking back, I found this post that talks about how the way God measures the gifts he gives us is a model for the way we should measure the gifts we give to others.

By Weight and Not by Volume, from March 6, 2012:

Remember the fine print on boxes or bags of snacks?  You don’t see it so much anymore–I guess we’re used to seeing half a package of air when we open something.  But it would read something like:

This product is sold by weight and not by volume.  Some settling of the contents may occur during shipping and handling.

Even as a kid, I realized that this was a lame attempt at heading off at the pass some disgruntled consumer who wanted a package full of snacks, not air.  The disclaimer was never a good thing.

I was reminded of that bit of fine print this morning when I heard the Gospel.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  Stop judging and you will not be judged.  Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven.  Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.  For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”  (Luke 6: 36-38)

There’s no disclaimer in that Gospel, because God’s love and God’s gifts don’t come with a disclaimer.  He doesn’t work that way.

If you bake, you know that weight and volume are not the same in terms of quantity.  In fact, they can be very different.  Depending on how much you “shake down” the cup of flour, you can get about another 1/4 cup in there.  The same is true with brown sugar–“pack” it down and you can really increase the quantity.  Too much (or too little) flour or brown sugar or any other ingredient can really mess up the finished product.  That’s why expert bakers insist on measuring by weight rather than by volume.

It’s a good thing that God is not a baker, though, because Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that God is not concerned by volume when it comes to love, mercy, forgiveness.  He’s going to pack in as much as our cups can hold–and then some, until they are overflowing.

And all that is expected in return is that we try to do the same for the others we encounter.