What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it in abundance”? We who call ourselves Christians have insisted for 2,000 years that true life is bound up in a relationship with Jesus Christ, that only He can change our status from merely existing to truly living. We sing about it, we preach and teach about it, but what does “abundant living” really look like? Like most of the things our Lord taught us about kingdom living it has to do with a succession of small events that, when put together, make a very large life. Abundant living doesn’t show itself just in magnificent conversion experiences, or awesome miracles, or martyr-type deaths. Instead, it is seen in the giving of food to the hungry or water to those who are thirsty, or being hospitable to a stranger, or clothing the naked, or ministering to the sick and hurting. So subtle are these things in themselves that those who practice them regularly will say, when commended for them at the Judgment, “When did we do these things?” And the king will say….to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine….you did it to me….and these will go away into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:40). Why? Because that is the abundant reward that seems to accompany that kind of abundant living. And that kind of life is urged upon us all.
Today is a good time to be practicing this kind of “abundant living.” There are so many opportunities to be “others focused.” So many people are out of work, discouraged by the economy, lacking the things so many of us take for granted. Reach out to these people. Even if you can’t give them the physical resources they seek, give them a smile, a word of encouragement, a prayer of support. Show your concern for them by a visit to their home, or at the hospital, or, as Jesus suggested, a visit to the jail. These are the kinds of things His disciples have always done, not because it is their duty to do them but because this is part of that which makes life so “large,” or as Jesus would put it, “abundant.”
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship