The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Abundant life? What does that mean? For most of the people in the world, it means something different than it means for you and me.
For most of the people in the world, abundant life simply means a life that is not in need. It doesn’t mean that you have millions of dollars. It means that you don’t need to find food, or water, or a place to live. You don’t need to find a job. You’re not homeless, sick, or starving. Your basic needs are met.
For most of the people in the world, abundance is a pretty humble proposition. If you have enough, plus a little extra, then you live in abundance.
Suppose you could go around the world and ask people, “What does abundance mean to you?” A lot of them will tell you, “It’s having a home. I don’t care if it’s a 600 square-foot home. It’s a home. Even in a tiny home, my family is safe. We don’t have to live on the streets. Abundance is a water filter. Or a well filled with clean water. When our water is safe to drink, my kids aren’t dying of dysentery. Abundance is a job! With a little income, we have food on the table. With a little extra, my kids can go to school. That’s abundance. I know what it’s like not to have those things. When I have them? And my family’s safe? That’s abundance.”
Sometimes Americans have trouble grasping just how much we have. We’re so accustomed to abundance that we don’t recognize it! Instead we define abundance by how much we can buy.
Focusing too much on what we can buy can actually kill people. When we get caught up in buying more stuff, we don’t think about the people that need our help. And we need to think about them, because without our help, they die.
I’m not saying that you should never buy anything for yourself. I’m not saying that at all. Like I said last time, it all comes down to what you have in your heart. God searches your heart. He knows your heart. Do you have a heart for helping those in need?
If our drive, our heart, our focus, is simply to make sure we have what we need, then we have the wrong heart. If we’re always saying, “I want this and I want that, and I know I could live without it but I’m going to get it and I’m going to get that too,” and we don’t have a thought for anybody else, then we have the wrong mindset.
An abundant life is so much more than having a lot of consumer goods. We think “abundance” and we see dollar signs. I think that’s America. But abundance can mean something really different in other parts of the world. Let’s learn to think about abundance in a new way. What if abundance is humble? What if it is having enough, plus extra for somebody else?
Jesus said He came so that we may have life and have it more abundantly. He gave us the message, He gave us the example, and He gave us that quality of life when He was on earth. When He ascended, these things didn’t leave with Him! He gave them to us. He teaches us to live by them. And when we do, people see Him! It’s our awesome calling to represent Him and reflect Him into the world!
Now, I know what you’re asking. How do you know when you have enough? At what point do you begin steering some extra to the people who need you?
This is where reverential fear can help you. More on this next time. See you Friday.