May 7, 2011
John 10:10 (New International Version, ©2011)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
I think this verse is more familiar in the King James.
10 …. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
I’ve been in many a conversation with Christians where the question is ‘so where is this abundant life the Bible talks about’? The thought is that God is going to work a miracle and make the Christian’s life ‘abundant’. I’m pretty sure that I used to believe this or something very close. I admit that I still hope that something like this is true; At least for me. I’m like my favorite philosopher Calvin. When Hobbes said, in response to some complaint of Calvin’s, ‘life isn’t fair, Calvin replied “I know but why can’t it be unfair in my favor”. I suppose there are people for whom God makes life unfair in their favor. Maybe it is true the other way also. Another Calvin quote: Hobbes asks “do you believe in God?” and Calvin replies “well someone is out to get me!” My opinion has changed over the years and I think I have discovered part of the secret of an abundant life.
Once upon a time I was flying to Denver for sales training. I get air sick easy and I really don’t like to fly. It is not fear of death its fear of that awful feeling of nausea. As luck would have it this was a rough flight. It was one of those flights where the pilot comes on the public address system and says that he is going to go to a different altitude to try to find some quieter air. He changed altitude but the ride stayed bumpy. I was embarrassed because there was a family sitting behind me with two small children and they seemed fine. I hated it. All I could do was pray and count down the minutes till we landed. Somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of the way there the flight got really bumpy. It was so bad that the flight attendants said that they were going to sit down and buckle-up also. The little boy seated behind me who had been fine started to cry.
Like a lot of men I carry a small flashlight in my pocket. I offered it to the boy’s father to use to distract his son. The Dad took it and it worked; the boy was still scared but the Dad could keep him from thinking about it. The funny thing was that it worked for me also. I just wasn’t as scared or as uncomfortable as before. The lesson for me was to get my mind off of myself and help someone else. That I believe is the secret to the abundant life. Or one of them anyway.