By Pamela Patnode
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!
Years ago, a new Catholic school opened in our area. The new school was close enough to our parish that many presumed, even feared, that it would affect the enrollment of our parish school. As the day neared for the opening, our pastor asked to meet with the headmaster of the new school. Many years later, the headmaster shared a part of his conversation with the beloved pastor.
Scarcity is a mentality that many of us live with, and it can develop into fear and envy. Without question, some resources require our prudence and stewardship. However, God’s love, mercy, praise, and blessings are not scarce. Moreover, it is God’s desire that the number of laborers in His field increases—He does not want a scarcity of laborers in the vineyard (Luke 10:2). However, there are times when I can feel nervous, that somehow my efforts might be overlooked when others join the mission, that I might be excluded, that I or my children will lose a spot in the group or team, that I will be left behind.
Room in the Vineyard for Everyone
In the first reading for today, Joshua worried that the wrong people were prophesying on behalf of the LORD. Eldad and Medad had been left in the camp when the spirit of the LORD was bestowed to others. However, they too were on the list and filled with the same spirit and began to prophesy. Joshua went so far as to ask Moses to make them stop.
Likewise, in the Gospel, John warned Jesus that someone was driving out demons in Jesus’ name. John worried that the person performing the work was not supposed to be doing so. Were Joshua and John concerned about the integrity of the mission? Probably. Were they worried about a scarcity of God’s spirit? Maybe? Or were they anxious adding more members to the mission the excellent work of others would overshadow their efforts? Possibly?
The concerns of Joshua in the Old Testament and John in the New Testament are understandable. However, both Moses and Jesus respond to their concerns with reassurance and confidence in God’s abundance. Indeed, “Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all” (Numbers 11:29)! Just as the work to be done is plentiful and the need for workers in God’s vineyard is great, God’s mercy, blessing, and love are in abundant supply, equipping all who say “Yes” to His call with the grace needed to do His work.
Wisdom of Trusting God’s Providence
At that meeting, our pastor expressed the positives of two Catholic schools in the area, “With the opening of your school, it is probable that some of our current families will leave our school and begin attending yours. That will leave open seats in our school. This is a good thing. We can fill those seats with new students. Between our two schools, we will be able to provide more children with a Catholic education, leading more souls to Christ.”
This pastor understood God’s abundance. He did not respond to the opening of a new school with fear built upon a scarcity mentality. He trusted in God’s providence and sought to lead more students to Christ. What a beautiful way to live.
Lord, a scarcity mentality can lead to fear and envy. Please help me to trust in your abundance as I seek to fulfill the unique mission that you have planned for me. And please send more laborers to the vineyard and help me to rejoice in their successes.
Call to Action
Pray about times when you have felt jealous of another’s success or worried about the perceived threat that someone or something poses. Ask God to reveal His abundant love, goodness, and mercy to you so that you can welcome others to His mission while fulfilling the unique call that He has for you. **Additional Scriptures: Luke 10:1-5; Jeremiah, 29:11; Joshua 1:9; 1 John 4:7; Isaiah 41:10
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