A Full and Meaningful Life

In John 10:10, Jesus shares that He came to give us life more abundant. Everyone wants their life to be good, and filled with blessings and joy, great opportunities, and good outcomes. We desire that we be healthy, wealthy, wise, and full of energy, and of course not to have any issues that challenge us and make life testy or people who get around us with their sour, doom-and-gloom attitude. We want life to be good, but reality sets in and we discover that life is not always pleasant, peaceful, or perfect. In Ecclesiastes, the wise man Solomon writes in chapter 3 that there is a time to be born and a time to die. Then his long, descriptive aspects of life between birth and death lead us to understand that life has its ups and its downs.

When Jesus offered abundant life to His followers, it was not just offering them toys and trinkets, smiles and sunny days, all wins and no losses, all joy and no tears. No, abundant life is facing all of life, all of its circumstances, all of its issues, all of its crises, all of its celebrations in the strength and wisdom and guidance of God. Knowing Jesus enables us to face life regardless of what the moments may hold — whether prosperity or problems, plagues or plenty — He will be there to guide us and undergird us.

Several years ago I conducted a funeral for an outstanding man who was Chinese. He was an outstanding businessman, family man, and community and church man. In every aspect of his life, he was thoroughly Christian. Whether it was his walk or his talk, his thoughts or his relationships, he was seriously and clearly committed to Christ. After the funeral and following the burial at the cemetery, there were men from the family standing at the entrance to the cemetery as we were driving out. They were stopping every car and as people would roll their windows down, they were handing them something. When I got up to where they were I, along with those in the car with me, was given a piece of candy to which a coin had been taped.

With a smile and a word of encouragement, they said it was their family tradition and that as deaths occurred, as people would leave the celebration of life they were given these mementos: a coin and piece of candy with the encouragement being that they hoped the rest of our journey would be filled with sweetness and prosperity. For years I have kept that little memento, neither spending the coin nor eating the candy, because the memories were far more significant than the symbols. I suppose all of us would wish for each other that every day and every way would be filled with sweetness and prosperity. What is the essence of the abundance that Jesus brings to life? Let me suggest three things where you can see Jesus at work in your life today.

The first thing that will make life abundant is people. Don’t lose sight of people. God made people because He wanted to have fellowship with them. If it means something to Him, it certainly can mean something to us. Almost every day, regardless of what else may be going on, I find a moment just to be marveled, blessed, and sometimes overwhelmed by the people who touch my life. Take the time each day to go out of your way to get to know someone new. Even more significantly, take the time to deeply appreciate an old friendship. People will bless your life.

A second thing that will make life abundant is purpose. You
can have a good job, a fine family,
and enjoyable activities and still not know a genuine purpose for living your life. Only the Lord can bring that about, and the only way you can experience that is to look to Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 are special verses for many people, because found in these verses is the fact that He will direct your paths. The Lord will bring about meaningful day-by-day plans and fulfillment. Trust Him. Look to Him. Live for Him.

The third and most meaningful of all things to bring about abundant living is preparation. The Scripture says in Amos that God announced to his people, “Prepare to meet thy God” (4:12). He told them to prepare, because you can be prepared — not just to die but to live. If you are not prepared to die, you probably are not prepared to live but that preparation can take place in a moment of time in an encounter with Jesus Christ, the Living Lord. Trust Him today and experience the wonder of His grace and the joy of the life that He will bring flowing into your heart.

The author can be contacted at directions@mbcb.org.

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer