The late summer sun has scorched the pasture, leaving it barren and dry. Oh, it still has scraggly weeds and thistles, but the grass that Flash and Henry need for daily sustenance is long gone.
This is the time of year that we have to supplement the donkeys' diet with hay.
A section of hay for each, morning and night.
And hay brings out the best, and the worst, in these two.
Henry was adopted to be a companion for Flash last year, and really...he's been just great. He was found wandering the countryside with a group of about 20 stray donkeys in Henderson County, TX. Logged in as "Henderson #10," it seemed fitting to name him Henderson–Henry for short.
Now, I don't know Henry's past, but I can tell a lot about it from the way he acts when the hay comes out.
You see, Henry wants ALL of it.
He wants his pile, and he wants Flash's pile.
Henry doesn't want Flash to get any of the hay.
He'll run back and forth between the two servings, kicking, biting and bucking to keep it all to himself.
In response, Flash lays his ears back, and tries first to get at one pile, then the other. He grunts his displeasure at the little donkey who is bound and determined to keep him from it.
Henry is so intent on keeping Flash away from the hay that he can't even enjoy it himself.
It's a classic move by someone who has known scarcity.
When you're not sure when, or if, you'll get to eat again, you try to hoard what you have against the possibility of going without.
"Henry, Henry!" I call to him. "There's plenty for both of you!"
I set more out, more than they can eat in one feeding.
Finally, Henry chooses the biggest mound of hay and begins to eat. He moves his backside toward Flash in a defensive posture to guard his portion.
Flash hangs back, then approaches his hay with eyes on Henry. Ears up, alert. Somehow he knows that Henry's still got a few tender spots left inside that haven't healed yet. He lets Henry settle in to eating before he starts to nibble from the far side of his pile.
Henry has a scarcity mindset.
He is always afraid that there won't be enough.
He's afraid that if he doesn't fight for his share, he won't get any at all.
He's afraid that if he lets Flash get hay, then he might go hungry.
Henry would rather do without, by running back and forth to keep Flash away, than run the risk of Flash eating into his portion.
He is so busy keeping Flash out that he can't enjoy the bounty before him.
A scarcity mindset keeps him from experiencing the abundance all around him.
You know what? I see myself in him. Maybe you can see yourself, too.
I see the ways that we hoard blessings, rather than risk giving away too much.
I see how we withhold love, just in case there won't be enough to go around.
I see how we can't be generous with our ideas, our resources, or our time, because we fear others might get ahead of us in the race for significance or importance.
We can't enjoy the abundance because we're worried that someone else is getting more than their "fair share."
A scarcity mindset keeps us from experiencing the abundance all around us.
It keeps us locked in a defensive posture, afraid to open up to others.
It keeps us from living freely in grace.
It takes a week of consistently setting out more hay than they can possibly eat, before Henry figures out that there will always be enough.
After several days of receiving generous portions, he is actually able to relax. He can leave leftover mounds of hay, open for anyone to take. He comes back to snack when he feels like it. He takes a nap, and lets his guard down.
He even lets Flash eat from his pile.
Henry is learning that there is always enough.
It's simple, really.
It's adopting a mindset of abundance that makes all the difference. Abundance believes:
The more we give, the more we receive.
The more we allow others partake of the goodness around us, the more we can enjoy it, too.
The less we try to protect "what is ours" the less we need "what is ours" to find significance.
The less we worry about others getting more than their "fair share," the more freedom we'll feel to live generously, openly.
Listen. Can I share this with you?
There is enough for you, my friend.
There is enough grace for today. More than you can possibly use up.
You can lavish it on everyone around you, slop it all over the place and give it away....and there will still be enough.
You don't have to worry about what anyone else is receiving. You don't have to compare. You don't have to protect what's yours.
Simply receive the abundance set before you, and let others do the same.
There is freedom in that. There is generosity, and life.
And there is joy.
Always enough joy.
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 2 Corinthians 9:8