A role to play
I’m curious! What comes to your mind when you think about having abundant life?
Winning the lottery?
No obstacles in your way?
Having every wish and desire of your heart fulfilled?
It is interesting that when Jesus utters the quote from John 10:10, he does not specify that ‘abundant life’ has to do with one’s amount of material wealth or personal fulfillment.
Rather, what lies behind Jesus’ promise to give us life in abundance is the promise of direction, escape, and sustenance. Here’s the few verses before verse 10:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.'”
There are many competing voices that demand our attention – at work, at school, at home, online. How do we sift through all these demands upon our attention and time? Which ‘voice(s)’ should we listen to? So often people try their best to juggle the competing interests in their lives. But if we desire the abundant life Jesus offers, we’re challenged giving equal weight to every demand and to prioritize his voice alone. We aren’t simply meant to hear his voice either, but to listen to his voice – a key difference. For it is the voice of Jesus, spoken through the Holy Spirit, that will guide us into the way of all truth (John 16:13).
Listening to Jesus’ voice guides us, it also rescues us from that ever-growing (and often self-imposed) pressure to be what we are told to be by others in our modern society. Necessary as I believe government, business, and culture are in our Western world, I don’t have any false impressions that these parts of our society care about me personally, other than what I contribute to them, of course. So how different then does that make the guidance given by Christ – the one who cares for every individual, calls us by name (Is. 43:1), and rescues us from being overwhelmed by those other voices?
If Jesus cares in this way, then why shouldn’t we trust that he will supply our every need? He will; but every need is not the same as every want. Notice Jesus says that in him we will “find pasture,” not be given our heart’s continual desire. It’s not that God couldn’t give us all these things? He could; but, would they ultimately help us better understand his purpose for us? Doubtful.
As part of the Church, Christ’s worldwide body on earth, what we do (our ministry) is done so that people may know of the new and abundant life they are offered in Christ. We, who have been given the Holy Spirit, all live in step with the Spirit so that every person “may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). This is why we are regularly seeking new opportunities to minister in Christ’s name. It’s not about changing things up to keep us interested; rather, it is about doing all we can so that God may grab the attention of his lost children through us.
With the upcoming Service of New Ministry on September 10, as well as our upcoming pledge season throughout September, we must support and serve, pledge and pray about how St. Timothy’s Church may minister afresh at this time in our church’s life. This is not a one-pony show – we all have a role to play, a pledge to offer, a portion of ourselves to give. Let us be bold and courageous in this ministry we have been called to, for His sake and for His glory.