“Dearth is opportunity.” p. 2p. 2 C.S. Lewis and the Art of Writing
“And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation but as it is written,
‘They who had no news of him shall see,The Apostle Paul and Isaiah the Prophet
And they who have not heard shall understand.’
If there is a hole, man will desire to fill it. The shrewd man will create the hole in order to sell the dirt that was not needed before. As cynical as that reality is, let’s not make the mistake that a desire to fill a hole makes one shrewd or implies that he created it in the first place. Guilt by association is not a wise blue print for building a life.
Still, it is true that dearth is opportunity. But opportunity for what? We must ask ourselves that question because the cynicism is valid. We must think hard about the implications of our getting involved in dearth. For the natural bent of humanity is to see dearth and move toward that consciously or subconsciously with a desire to fill a different void: self-esteem, honor, glory, riches, identity—for self, not others.
And so the death becomes a means to a different end. But if the dearth is truly dearth, i.e., there is a human need that begs filling, is it not my task to fill that need with more concern for the other than for self?
We can assume a savior complex and remedy the dearth from our perspective, which, in the long run, creates more and different needs while leaving the original need mostly unmet or met only in a surface, short-term way. And so it is not enough to just say dearth is opportunity—however true that may be. We must guard against the prepositional phrase: for me.
For a full treatment of this idea see When Helping Hurts.