“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
John 10:10 is, as one of my friends says, “a refrigerator verse.” We post it online, in our homes (perhaps on our refrigerator!) and talk of it often. Almost all of us know these words in some context.
But do we believe it?
The other day I attended the funeral of an older friend; she was a gospel singer who performed all over the world and even at the White House. But as friends talked of her life, I realized something much greater about her than her singing voice: She lived abundantly.
At 21, she was a pastor’s wife, a mother of three (married at 17), was teaching herself how to play the organ so the small church could have music each week, and teaching Bible studies. She and her husband, trying to figure out life, were even counseling older, married couples.
She did it all. But through it all she loved others. She celebrated every single life that came in touch with hers. And, she loved God.
Beside her casket was a photo of her in later life, throwing her head back in laughter. I remember that laughter well. The last time we talked together, we talked of her brain cancer. “They say I’m losing my mind,” she said. “That’s been happening my whole life!” And through the challenges she would say often, “I’m not afraid.”
She was right. She was never afraid of the future. As a hospice nurse came into her room on one of her last days she could speak, she said to the nurse, “How can I pray for you, darling?” That’s the picture of an abundant life.
An abundant life is one where we are so focused on following Jesus Christ that we have less and less time to focus on the circumstances of the day. It is a life of adventure, of joy.
The abundant life takes us on fantastic journeys into another realm where pessimism is replaced with hope, where fear is replaced by faith. A life where sometimes God asks us to do what conventional wisdom would call unthinkable, crazy or silly.
But we follow anyway, with a mischievous smile and a thrill in our hearts—because we are living in another world, a world unseen by the conventional wisdom of the day.
As we enter a new year, let’s choose the journey of the abundant life. We don’t know where the path leads, but isn’t that the fun of living in the heart of God’s will?
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
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