Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is there to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10: 9-10 (The Message)
There they are again. Those at once encouraging and aspirational words of Christ of more, of a better life than we have ever dreamed of, or as we read in another translation, of an abundant life.
If you’re anything like me, images of what those words mean often come to mind in terms of things, success, accomplishments and other aspects of the American dream that we strive toward achieving and fulfilling. What does “abundant” look like to us? What would demonstrate “more” to us? What does a life that we have always “dreamed of” look like?
Would it include: good health, happiness, heat in the winter and cool in the summer? How about a comfortable home, nice cars and plenty of food on the table? Maybe new and fashionable clothing and plenty of money in our bank accounts for current day-to-day living, for college expenses anticipated in a few years, and for a comfortable retirement nest-egg whenever you decide that time is appropriate? How about children and grandchildren—wise, wonderful, well-behaved and well on their way to making you proud?
That tends to be the direction our minds initially lean—at least mine—when those words of an abundant life, one better than I could ever dream of, come to mind. Leave it to one of my Granddaughters to point me in a better direction.
As my son, Nathan, tells the story, it seems that when my elder Granddaughter, Hannah, was four, she and her Daddy had gone to a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop for dessert after dinner. As they sat eating their doughnuts and sharing a container of milk, Nathan began to point out to Hannah the elaborate nature of the “Hot—Fresh—Now” Krispy Kreme sign hanging over the counter, now flashing on-and-off to signal that a fresh baked batch of doughnuts was available. According to Nathan, he tried to point out the circuitry of the flashing neon sign to Hannah and wondered aloud how it could possibly light up the way it did.
“Well, Daddy, I know how it lights up,” she proclaimed.
“Really, Hannah,” he rejoined with a smile wondering what was coming next. “How does it light up?”
She waived her arm pointing toward a receptacle on the nearby wall into which an electric cord was plugged and matter-of-factly declared:
“It’s plugged in, Daddy”, and then she continued to lick more chocolate icing and sprinkles from her doughnut.
So, how’s the abundant life where you are? Comfortable and warm? Enjoying dessert, or still trying to deal with the main course? Family okay? Career on track? No serious challenges ahead? All the power you need readily at hand? Or is there an illness in your family that won’t heal, causing continuing worry? Or perhaps you’re in the midst of a job change and you have no idea what the future holds, even as far out as tomorrow. You’ve just noticed that your children are bigger and older than you remember since the last time you really took time to look. And who’s that person who looks like your spouse sitting across from you at the breakfast table?
Maybe you’re trying to plug your extension cord into every energy source you can find for the answers to the concerns and problems cropping up in your life. Somewhere, somehow, you hope you’ll find the right outlet to plug into which will lead to that abundant life, that life better than any you have ever dreamed of, that life of more. Yet wherever you seem to plug into lately, you find the circuit breakers are tripped.
Looking for that abundant life, that life of more, that life better than any you have ever dreamed of? Let me suggest, that like that “Hot—Fresh—Now” sign, you stop looking in all the directions to which the world points you, and, instead, plug your life into the ultimate source of power for your lives. The source which is the Gate which really does lead to a life better than you have ever dreamed of, to a real, eternal and abundant life. Let me suggest that you connect your life to a source which will provide you with more of the peace, purpose and fulfillment your life will ever need.
And that source is Jesus Christ. For it’s in the connection to that outlet, and that source of power, that we will find all the hope, strength and enthusiasm we will ever need for the living of these days. The word “enthusiasm” itself is derived from the Greek words “En Theos” or “In God.” And it’s through that faith in God and His eternal plan for our lives, through His Son Jesus Christ, that we are provided with all the warmth, hope, strength and peace to face whatever life throws our way.
Don’t go through any Gate but Him, and don’t go anywhere without plugging into that eternal source of power for your lives. You may be surprised at how your lives begin to light up, even flash, with the glow of His power and love.
“It’s plugged in, Daddy.”
Thank you once again Hannah.
In His Name—Scott (Gran)