“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
As I pray over these words of Jesus, the pile grows down the hall in anticipation of our church’s annual rummage sale. There is a lot of stuff accumulated for the sale that will help support our mission team and the work of the church beyond our walls. We all have stuff, some more than others, but we all have stuff, enough that we can drop some of our stuff off for the sale and never really miss it. The celebration of life in abundance given by Jesus has nothing to do with the accumulation of stuff, wealth, or even the maintenance of good health. What Jesus offers to us in abundance is grace; the eternal presence of God in our lives whether we have much stuff, or no stuff, live in wealth or impoverished, healthy or struggling with illness, or caring for a loved one going through a difficult time. Abundant life is the celebration of God, through our resurrected Savior Jesus Christ, that makes real the promise of God to be with us, even to the end of the age. Our task, sometimes difficult, is to trust that God is with us throughout our lives offering abundance of living. There may be times that we do not feel the presence of God, just as Job felt; “If I go forward, he is not there; or backward, I cannot perceive him; on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him; I turn to the right, but cannot see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold.” (Job 23:8-10) There are times while on the journey we are blinded to God’s presence, even though it is there in abundance. We cannot see God as we build walls around our souls, but God is there, offering grace in abundance. We are frustrated by life’s twists and turns and consumed by day to day challenges, but God still is offering grace in abundance. We may even turn to God in despair and ask, “why God, how could you do such a thing,” and God is especially there, in abundance. God knows your journey, and God knows your challenges. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and live in the abundance of God’s grace. Celebrate the Lord and you will be blessed, in abundance. Thank you Jesus!