Bernie May in Learning to Trust writes of the Mazatec Indians, located in SW Mexico. Their culture is marked by the concept of “limited good.” Limited good means that there is only so much good, so much knowledge and so much love to go around. Accordingly, because good is limited, it is wise not to share it.
The concept of limited good has its ramifications. Seldom will anyone greet someone with a “good day.” Knowledge is not shared freely, including the basic arts of village life, i.e., making bread. To teach another means you might lose your own knowledge.
It seems that concept of limited good flows from root idea that there is not enough. While it would be easy enough to chide the concept as primitive, perhaps we should give it more credence. Indeed, how often do we limit our good? We can’t serve in church because we don’t have enough energy. Or we can’t have a neighbor over because we have too many soccer practices. Or perhaps, we don’t have enough time for the scriptures because we didn’t get enough sleep.
Limited good is not just cultural. It is a concept of the heart, and prompts the basic question: do I have enough? Is it enough for God to be my supplier?
William F. High is the President/General Counsel of the Servant Christian Community Foundation (www.servantchristian.com). Servant’s mission is to inspire, teach and facilitate revolutionary biblical generosity. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.