John 10:10

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10 (ESV)

As I go further down the road as a Christian, I find that I cling more & more to the Gospel of John. I think it gives the clearest picture in the Bible of who Jesus was and why He came. I’m about halfway through John in my Bible reading plan and read through John 10 yesterday. Verse 10 of course is very familiar to all Christians. Sometimes a verse gets you and sometimes it’s just a word. Here it’s ‘abundantly’.

I just finished reading a little book by Matt Redmond called The God of the Mundane. I wouldn’t characterize it simply as an answer to the ‘radical’ type books that have come out in recent years. However, it does offer a counter-perspective for those of us who find themselves in everyday America with normal jobs, daily childcare responsibilities, unending household chores, and the like. Redmond asks, “In the economy of God, do only the times when we are doing something life-changing have any spiritual cache with Him?” I wonder that myself sometimes. I see tweets and blog posts about saints who are doing work in “hard soil” as one of my pastors once called it and often feel small by comparison. Some days the agenda is just reading my Bible, getting out the door, working a full day, coming home to spend time with my wife and son, and then it’s bedtime. Those days kind of run together. I wonder in light of reading Redmond’s book, and spending some time on John 10:10, if Jesus had this in mind when he talked about abundance. God calls us to be faithful right where we are, I really believe that. And just as sure, sometimes He calls us out of where we are and to other areas where He feels we can best serve. Sometimes though I wonder if Jesus sees an ‘abundance’ in my life. Are others living on a higher plane as Christians? Is there such a thing?

There is a bit of rambling here, as there is in most of my posts. If you have read this far, what do you think? When Jesus says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly,” what does He mean? What does this look like in your own life?

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6 thoughts on “John 10:10

  1. Isn’t it the difference between life under the sun and life under heaven? Living for the here and now vs living for eternity? The abundant life is one of abounding peace in Christ, not striving after or grasping the things of this world, but seeking to live faithfully in whatever calling or vocation we live. I haven’t read Mr. Redmans’ book but I have read the articles he linked to by Mr. Anthony Bradly and that (along with some other issues in Mr. Bradley’s articles) seemed a large exercise in missing the point. To live faithfully as a Christian in a fallen world IS radical, it IS costly and it DOES mean we don’t pursue the things the worldlings do (to borrow Mr. Spurgeon’s word). It means that as you read your Bible and go to work and be a husband and a father and a friend, you carry the aroma of Christ on you in your dealings and your pursuits. It means having nothing and yet possessing everything. It means having union with Christ by His Spirit and counting the reproach of Christ to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt. It means serving when it would be easier to catch up on rest. It means setting an example when it would be easier to sit down and let someone else take the reins for awhile. It means responding humbly and gently when you really wish you could just give someone a piece of your mind. Maybe it means forsaking a desired nonessential item so that someone in your church in need can put a meal on the table, or have a table to put a meal on. And in all those things, you have greater fellowship in and with Christ and you know untold joys in that fellowship. Because, as the Psalmist said, “At your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

  2. Oh, my, I just remembered this! My first Sunday at the PCA church where I am now a member, I took some notes from the Sunday School class I slipped into. One of the elders was teaching from O. Palmer Robertson’s “Christ of the Covenants” and he was talking about the covenant at creation and the cultural mandate and he said this, it was so good I wrote it down…

    “Subduing the creation’ means helping to bring out the beauty of God’s design and purpose to the glory of God. Whether we are laboring with people or laboring with things, it involves our attitude toward our work and the quality of our work.”

    That has a lot of implications right there.

  3. I think some of my thinking on this has been generated from the missions focus (conferences, articles, etc.) of the folks I follow online. There seems to be a general, if unspoken, sense that overseas missions work is essentially the most worthy calling of the Christian. I was thinking back to the membership meeting at our church and one of the prospective members was talking about driving the church vehicle to take elderly to services each week. In my mind, that’s someone who is faithful in where God has placed him. It may not be written about in books but to me is an example of faithful service. I want to be careful and not go the other way and say, well this is all I can do, hopefully God will approve. We have to be careful to look for the opportunities that you mention, like “serving when it would be easier to catch up on rest”, and “forsaking a desired nonessential item so that someone in your church in need can put a meal on the table” (two relevant examples I fight with daily in my own life). I did not agree with all of Redmond’s conclusions in his book, but did wonder along with him if God sees ‘the abundant life’ in the daily grind of trying to live faithfully while working a a non-glamourous job and changing diapers and mowing the lawn here in middle America. Your quote from your church elder gives me hope that He does.

    Thank you as always for taking the time to comment and offer your much valued perspective. It often takes another set of eyes to see things more clearly, and I appreciate you offering yours 🙂 God bless!

  4. Joe,

    Have you read much from Abraham Kuyper? I think there is real danger for high-profile people who have availability of blogs and twitter and such to think out loud, forgetting that we are called to wisdom in all of life and in all that we do, likewise, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. I think some goody Presbyterian reading might benefit you in this. The Westminster Larger Catechism and the implications coming from it just makes the whole hullabaloo out there seem as folly.

  5. ….particularly in the sections that expound the implications of full obedience to each of the ten commandments. That is radical living, my friend.

  6. Having Life more abundantly. In the beginning we had life with God and those who have dove deep into the scriptures understand that we lived before coming to this earthly experience. The book of Job is a book about us as individuals, the before, the during, and after our testing and disciplinary process on this earth. It explains in allegory we had great abundance with God before our trials and testing here on earth and afterward a greater abundance, a double portion. Christ came to earth as our pattern to be the first born among many. It is about bringing his creation to this more abundance he talks about as this is the pinnacle of His purpose. God could have created us as robots, doing by being “programmed” in a certain way. God had a better plan and as it says, we, as Christ was given the ability to have life in ourselves, the likeness of the Father with all creative abilities. Does it not say Christ is our example, our pattern in which we are made after? If this is so and we believe this and have faith that God is not saying one thing and doing another, we too are being raised up as furthering His kingdom throughout eternity. Can you imagine billions running around the universe doing their own thing? Thus the purpose of training as in Job. We must learn discipline to be raised to the likeness and stature of a true Son. It is a wonderful plan and it leaves none behind as in leaving the 99 and looking for the 1 Every knee shall bow to the will of God and that will of God is that He will bring everyone into the fold, some 30, some 60, and some a 100, all with life more abundantly. Salvation was given to us in the long ago before we came to this earthly university and our minds were darkened just as God caused a deep sleep to overcome Adam. This same was our moment of birth into this realm of existing in this body for a time, a time of blindness. We regain our sight through being regenerated little by little, God forming us into a new creation. God is raising each of us up to have life, and it more abundantly. When we get past the symbol and walk in reality we see with His eyes and hear with His ears for we will be fined “tuned” at the end of this journey, yes to have life and it more abundantly. It is all good.

    Sonny

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