Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.“
The video was certainly eye opening, and it was meant to stir the spirit and the heart. The filmmakers had gone to several countries where Christianity was either uncommon or outlawed, and they filmed our fellow brothers and sisters as they went about their daily worship and daily lives. I had been going through my own time of questioning during which I asked God why I had so little. Then, on the screen I saw an image of a home church service in rural China. These people were poor and dirty, the room was crowded with no seats, and many had walked miles to attend. Tired, hungry, and with nowhere to rest, they still spent hours on their feet praying and worshiping the Lord together.
The phrase abundant living can be quite loaded when used in a spiritual context. It can create an expectation that is something other than what the Lord might have meant when He spoke these words. I have cried out to God many nights asking him why I still have needs that appear to be unmet when my life is to be full. The word tells us that life is more than food and that the body is more than clothes, yet my idea of abundant living was so focused on the physical and natural. Yet, when I saw my much poorer brothers and sisters partaking in that spiritual fellowship, I found myself wanting what they had and not caring about what they did not have. They appeared to be in physical need, but there was great spiritual abundance among them.
The abundant life of which Jesus speaks is multifaceted. Some people will experience natural or economic abundance while others never get anywhere close to that. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum of apparent prosperity, God puts you where it is necessary for you to attain spiritual abundance. That is the abundant living that is ours for the taking. God can use riches or poverty as tools to help us reach that place, and that is his business. We are promised that we will live life more abundantly, and Christ has told us that life is much more than what it appears to be. Father, give us greater understanding of what abundant living looks like, and prepare us to get there.