“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Abundant life. We all want it. And it’s estimated that there are 7.5 billion people on this planet. My hunch is that there are just as many definitions of what that abundant life looks like. Jesus put the words out there and we ran with them. What did he mean by “....more abundantly?”
I suspect he was talking about an abundance that lies within the human person rather than around the human person. We can stockpile all the things we want, but if they don’t contribute to an abundant interior life, then what good are they? I’m not going to demonize greed or worldly goods. I am going to question their purpose and presence if they don’t help me become more internally abundant.
Abundance has become almost solely associated with things external - money, homes, cars, clothes. Stuff. Even some of my christian brothers and sisters preach a “prosperity gospel” that promotes financial well being as a blessing from God. Sorry. I don’t really believe in a God who cares whether you have a Tesla or Mercedes.
So, what is abundant living then? I believe it has greater meaning than accumulation. Abundance means to be full or overflowing. A life that is full or overflowing with what?
Here is my top 10 list of what an abundant life consists of:
Relationship - having a deep connection with another person or people.
Gratitude - for your life and how you can make a positive contribution to your world.
Meaning - to see a greater purpose to your life.
Peace - even in the midst of turmoil and chaos. The general sense that all will be well.
Love - to experience one of the best emotions!
Hope - to live with a sense that each experience will lead to something more; that life expands, not contracts.
Fortitude/Strength - to never give up and to use your gifts to the best of your ability.
Vision - the ability to see more than what is right in front of you.
Charity - to extend beyond yourself to help another person.
Courage - to have the faith and perseverance that you can handle whatever life may hand you.
These are pretty much internal things. That for me is an abundant life. The things on the outside can never really bring a true sense of abundance. Abundant life for me consists of living life deeply, intimately, purposefully, and with great passion. And...it means living for more than myself. An abundant life also consists of extending all of those items on my list to others! Giving those abundant items away to others so that they may have an abundant life too!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that an abundant life is about realizing the abundance within, and giving it away. To take my abundance of life and give it to someone else. To take the abundance of love and give it away! To take the abundance of peace or hope, and give it to someone who really needs it! To take the abundance of courage and show others how it can change lives! To take the abundance of strength and be that strength for someone else! Because, ironically, when we give away our abundance, it is isn’t depleted. It is restored and grown exponentially! What is given away freely returns multiplied. Abundance isn’t so much about what we own as it is about what we give away. It isn't so much about stocking up as it is about letting go.