In an old “Peanuts” cartoon, Lucy is talking to her baby brother, Linus. The scenario unfolds like this.
Lucy: ’I’ll tell you something I’ve never told anyone before.’
She points to a hill in the distance and says, ’Someday, I’m going over that hill and find happiness and fulfillment. For me, all the answers to life lie beyond those clouds and over the grassy slopes of those hills.’
Linus: (Removes his thumb from his mouth, points toward the hill, Maybe there’s another little kid on the other side of the hill who is looking this way and thinks that all the answers lie on this side of the hill.
Lucy: (She thinks that one over for a moment, then turns toward the hill and screams, “FORGET IT KID! IT AIN’T HERE!”
In today’s Bible reading, Jesus provides for us direction, purpose and the ultimate answer to fulfillment, satisfaction, and happiness in life.
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Unfortunately, too many people are searching for abundance in all the wrong places. Some feel it is found in finding the right person to be their soul mate. Others believe that financial success will make them happy. Still others scramble to obtain material possession in hope of happiness. And for many people, the good life is found in life’s simple pleasures: Food. Family. Friends. Freedom. Fun.
While all of those things may provide a degree of safety, security, and satisfaction, they will not give one life in all its fullness. There are several things we learn from this single phrase
(1) It is possible to enjoy an abundant life. Many look at life as a burden. The master of the short story O’Henry once wrote, “Life is made up sobs, sniffles and smiles, with sniffles predominating.” Even more cynical was 1960’s folk singer Janis Joplin who once said, “Life is something you do, while waiting to die.”
Jesus, however, said life is mean to be lived in abundance. In fact, he said we could live life “more abundantly” In the Greek this word is a superlative. Dr. A. T. Robertson says the word means “ to a have a surplus” or to “overflow. There is a life that is more than full, more than abundant.
(2) The abundant life is in Christ. Being “in Christ’ is a relationship that we have with Jesus when we are born again into His Family (John 3:3-5). When we are in Christ we enjoy “all spiritual blessings” (Eph. 1:3). When we in Christ we are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4). When we are in Christ, we have the opportunity to live an abundant life.
(3) You are living the abundant life in Christ when….
◆You are living in the Spirit and not according to the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:17-19).
◆You are walking by faith, and not by sight (2 Cor 5:17).
◆You love God, love the unlovable, and help the hurting. (Matt 22:37-40; I Cor 13)
◆Your hope in rooted in the resurrection of Christ and his glorious return (I Pet 1:3; Titus 2:13)
◆You experience the joy of Christian living and the peace that surpasses understanding (Phil 1:25; Phil 4:9).
◆You can bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you. (Matt 5:44-45)
◆You are grateful for whatever you have in this life, whether it’s a little or a lot. (I Thess 5:18)
◆You are humble enough to serve, confident enough to use your God-given gifts, and mature enough to realize that you are one member of a bigger spiritual body (Rom 12:3-8)
◆You can let go the past, live in the present, and know that your future is secure in the promise of a heavenly home (Matt 6:19-34; John 14:1-3)
In summary, in Christ, there is abundant grace. Abundant goodness. Abundant peace.Abundant love. Abundant spiritual knowledge. Abundant blessings. Abundant help. And Abundant hope.
Christ is the cornerstone of an abundant life. It’s not what we have. But who we are in Him. It’s not what we get. But the gracious gifts He gives us.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman