Faith & Spirituality Finances & Money

The Principles of Creation and Abundance

By Cameron Taylor

The following is a guest post by Cameron C. Taylor, author of Does Your Bag Have Holes: 24 Truths That Lead to Financial and Spiritual Freedom. Be sure to check out his blog at his website,!

Note from Clever Dude: In this guest post, Cameron tackles the myth that there are limited resources available through the use of a story. I will claim, though, that the idea of abundance flies in the face of common belief and even I have trouble accepting it, but read below and decide for yourself…

The Story of the Farmer and the Thief

Bobby, a fifteen-year-old, took responsibility for running his family’s Arizona farm after his father became ill. Some took unfair advantage of the young man, and crops began disappearing from the fields. Bobby was angry and vowed to catch the thieves and make an example out of them. Vengeance would be his.

As his father was recovering from his illness, Bobby made his rounds through the fields at the end of the day. It was nearly dark. In the distance, he caught sight of someone loading sacks of potatoes into a car. Bobby ran quickly through the field and caught the young thief. His first thought was to take out his frustrations with his fists and then drag the boy to the farmhouse and call the police. He had caught his thief, and he intended to get his just dues.

As Bobby’s anger raged, his father pulled up in his pickup. He got out, and placed his weak hand on his son’s shoulder and said, “I see you’re a bit upset, Bobby. Can I handle this?” He walked over to the young thief and put his arm around his shoulder, looked him in the eye for a moment, and said, “Son, tell me, why are you doing this? Why are you trying to steal these potatoes?”

The young thief replied, “I didn’t think you would miss them. You have so very much and I have so very little. Not everyone can be wealthy like you.” Then Bobby’s father asked the young thief, “Why do you think I have this large farm and comfortable home?” “Because your dad gave them to you,” replied the boy. Bobby’s father chuckled and put his arm around the young boy. He walked the thief to an area where he could see the undeveloped desert that surrounded the potato farm and said, “Thirty years ago, this is what my potato farm looked like. I originally purchased 10,000 acres of desert land for $27 per acre. Through years of hard work, I transformed the land that was producing very little value into a thriving potato farm which is now worth $3,500 per acre. As a result of years of hard work and industry, I was able to improve this property to the point where now what I purchased for $270,000 is worth $35 million.”

The thief’s eyes widened and he said in amazement, “Your farm is worth $35 million. Don’t you think it is selfish to have so much?” Bobby’s father asked, “Selfish, what do you mean?” “Well, if you have so much, that means there is now less for others. Not everyone can be wealthy,” stated the young thief.

Bobby’s father replied, “When I breathe, does it lessen the amount of oxygen available for you and your family? Is the person who exercises and thus breathes more oxygen selfish because he is taking more than his share of the oxygen?” Perplexed, the young thief replied, “Of course not. There is enough oxygen for everyone to breathe as much as they want.” Bobby’s father asked, “Why is there plenty of oxygen?” “I don’t know. Why?” responded the boy.

Bobby’s father explained, “Because oxygen can be created. Since oxygen is created in abundance, we don’t have to ration it so we don’t run out. Wealth can also be created and thus can be as abundant in our lives as oxygen. We can have as much wealth as we are willing to work to create. To say it is impossible for everyone to be wealthy is as irrational as saying not everyone can breathe as much oxygen as he or she wants. The earth is designed to create, produce, and increase.

For example, from a single apple seed you can grow a tree that will produce hundreds of apples each year. Two chickens can be multiplied to feed thousands of people. Once we understand that wealth can be created, we will believe that there is enough in the world for everyone to succeed and, as a result, one does not have to become successful at the expense of others. The success of one does not limit another’s ability to succeed.

“If every person produced to his or her potential, everyone’s needs would be satisfied with a great abundance. For example, the earth is capable of producing food for a population of at least 80 billion, eight times the 10 billion expected to inhabit the earth by the year 2050. One study estimates that with improved scientific methods the earth could feed as many as 1,000 billion people. (Stephen Budiansky, “10 Billion for Dinner, Please,” U.S. News & World Report, 12 September 1994, p. 5762) In 1930, there were approximately 30 million farmers in the United States, barely producing enough food to feed a population of approximately 100 million people. Technological breakthroughs in agriculture during the next fifty years made farming so efficient that by 1980 approximately 3 million farmers were producing enough food for a population of more than 300 million. This represents a 3,000 percent increase in productivity per farmer.” (Paul Pilzer, God Wants You to Be Rich, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995) p. 1819)

The young thief then asked, “If the world is capable of feeding hundreds of billions of people, why are people starving?”

“This is a great question,” continued Bobby’s father. “Remember that I said if every person produced to his or her potential, everyone’s needs would be satisfied with a great abundance. There are two problems. First, not everyone is producing. Second, there are those who seek wealth by taking what others have produced rather than creating it themselves. When someone seeks wealth by taking someone else’s production, they are stealing. Were you creating or stealing when you attempted to take the potatoes from my farm?”

“I was stealing,” replied the young thief. Bobby’s father continued, “One of my favorite stories in the Bible is Jesus cleansing the temple. The Lord calls those who use the capitalist system to become takers instead of creators thieves. In New Testament times, there were those outside the temple who used scales of questionable accuracy for exchange and who took advantage of religious pilgrims who traveled to the temple by charging inflated prices. In response to these actions, ‘Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.’ (Matthew 21:1213, King James Version) Many business practices may be legal in the courts of earth but those who steal from their customers with inflated prices or steal from their employees by oppressing them in their wages will be called thieves when judged by the law of God.”

Then the young thief asked, “So are businesses and wealth bad things?” In response, Bobby’s father continued, “Business and wealth can be good or bad. The question to ask is, ‘Was value created or stolen?’ Jesus was not condemning money or business but the fact they were achieving it by stealing. Christ taught us not to obtain wealth through theft and taking from others which destroys. Instead, He taught us to obtain wealth by creation and production which creates life and abundance, saying ‘The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10, King James Version)”
The young thief then said, “I have one last question. Why do people believe they can only succeed at the expense of someone else?” 

Bobby’s father answered, “The root cause is a belief in scarcity, that there is a fixed amount of wealth. With a scarcity belief, if one person gains more financially it means another has less. A great example of scarcity mentality is population control. Those who believe in population control believe there is a fixed pie of resources. Thus, if there are more people, each person will get a smaller piece of the pie. With a scarcity mentality, the only way to increase the quality of life of each individual is to reduce the number of people. Thus as population is reduced, each person receives a larger piece of the pie.

“Good Christians will not achieve wealth by taking it from others; thus, if they belief the world has a fixed amount of wealth, they will feel guilty the more they receive because that means less for someone else. Once Christians understand that they can create wealth, they will also understand that as they create wealth they are improving the lives of society—not taking from them. A belief that the world is abundant and that wealth can be created is essential to creating prosperity for you and for society. ‘The more we develop an abundance mentality, the more we love to share power and profit and recognition, and the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe that their success adds to—rather than detracts from—our lives.’(Stephen R. Covey,  Principle-Centered Leadership, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991) p. 159)”

In gratitude, the young thief said, “When I was caught stealing, I expected to be punished, but instead you showed me kindness. Thank you. I have learned a lot today.”

Bobby’s father invited the young boy to walk with them to the farmhouse. When they got there, Bobby’s father asked the young thief what items he and his family needed. He graciously gave them to the boy. Voluntarily, month-by-month, the young would-be thief paid for all the food Bobby’s father had given him, including the sacks of potatoes.

About the author

Clever Dude


  • @Chad, that’s my same argument. The feds are pushing corn for ethanol, but what about the water table in the midwest? It really can only support so much farming.

    However, the fact that we can utilize solar energy to run desalinization plants to create fresh water counters that argument. Sure, there’s limited fresh water, but almost limitless water in general. You just need to work harder to use it 😛

  • Wow. I have to agree with the 1st commenter. I’ve been away from this site for a while and I come back to this religious nonsense. The missing line from the story is “…and when Jesus comes back to rapture us next month he’ll be proud of the way we raped the land!”

    Yes, don’t steal. Yes, “create” wealth.
    No, natural resources are not unlimited. No, poor people are not just “not producing.”
    Where did the farmer’s first $270,000 come from?

    I cannot begin to enumerate all of the logical fallacies in this story that was explicitly designed to paint environmentalist as anti-Bible thugs.

    I guess the responsible thing for me to do would be to write a point by point rebuttal. Maybe, but I’m too angry right now to do that thoughtfully.

    I have one more quick question for the farmer: does he sell the potato for exactly what it cost for him to grow it? No, he marks it up? How much? Did Jesus specify a exact markup to the temple potato, I mean money changers?

  • This story is fine and I have no argument with someone owning or being worth a lot, but assuming that the farmer only has a positive influence on his overall environment is erroneous. He had to get a huge amount of water from somewhere, and that was probably a river. If enough people pulled that amount of water out of the river the farms, the people, the golf courses, etc. downstream would run out of water. Thus, the farmer is taking from someone to create his wealth.

    This is happening right now in Arizona, Nevada and eastern California. Arizona and Nevada are using water up that used to flow into eastern California farms.

    There is a limit to everything and just believing that there will always be enough won’t prevent us from running out. Read the book Collapse by Jared Diamond. He uses real examples of societies that have died and prospered throughout history to show how we can’t just blindly use up everything.

  • @Clever Dude
    I couldn’t agree with you more on ethanol. It’s a complete waste. If the 1st primary wasn’t held in Iowa, we probably wouldn’t even be talking about ethanol.

    I agree, there are technological solutions that allow us to use more, I just don’t like how the story makes everything seem limitless. Another good example, sticking to farms, is the fertilizer runoff in the Mississippi. Essentially, the runoff creates a 4,000-8,000 square mile dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. How many fishermen have been hurt by this? Not to mention animals. There maybe a solution to this at some point, but to me the consequences of the farmer’s actions aren’t even taken into consideration in the story.

    Though, I don’t agree with Clever Dude’s religious beliefs, I wasn’t really commenting on those. It was the economic beliefs set forth in the guest post/book.

  • I think I have to agree that all people need to come to terms with the idea that scarcity of resources is real. The world is a zero sum game and I think that we are beginning to realize the effects that the past choices of humanity are having on us in the present. We may not have yet reached the limit of production of real resources (food and shelter), but it is possible that we could reach this limit.

    Now in terms of wealth (i.e. money) I have to agree that we have the ability to create an almost infinite amount of this (you can store a lot of number in a computer) – it simply has no real value. As it is money is only a convention that allows us turn our labor into food (and toys, lots and lots of toys). One day the real resources, food and shelter, could cost so much that we actually need a limitless supply of money to get just enough to even get by. But I think this day is probably hundreds of years off unless there is some cataclysmic event that speeds it all up.

  • I like the post, though I think people are getting lost in the religous over tones I think the story has strong merit. There are people who look at what others have built and want what they believe is their share of it. Right now there is talk of taxing the gas because they are making too much money. This is the same thing. “They are making too much money so lets hurt them.” I think too many sit in the mud and wallow in it. I liked the story because its theme is to go out and kill something and eat it or make something and sell it, go out and do SOMETHING!! Do not sit at home and wonder how you can get someone else’s peice of the pie.

  • @ J Dawg – The story is too simplistic, which is why it’s so easily absorbed. It advertises one admirable trait, self-relience, while ignoring the consequences of the farmer’s actions. Who, it seems, did figure out how to take someone else’s piece of the pie. Just ask the farmer down stream.

  • I know this is an old post, but I just can’t stop thinking about one aspect of it. Are we supposed to believe that it was the farmer’s hard work alone that turned his 10,000 acres into a productive farm? Can one person work a 10,000 acre farm all by himself? Not likely. More likely is that he hired others to help him with the labor. If he paid a fair price for their labor, then there’s nothing wrong with that. But if they worked just as hard as he did, but he gets rich while they get only their workman’s wages, that does kind of go against the moral of the story (“The rich are rich because they work so very, very hard, while the poor are poor because they sit around on their lazy butts trying to think of ways to steal from others”), doesn’t it?

  • That’s why I don’t like stories like this. They are too simple and don’t represent reality at all.

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