Complete this sentence: I have come that they may have life ____________.
It’s a familiar passage. And depending on the Bible version you’ve used TOmemorize the passage, you might complete the sentence with something like: …and have it more abundantly.
But what exactly does this mean, especially when life doesn’t appear to be abundant?
For residents of coastal Texas, the only thing that seems abundant at the moment is water. An abundant life seems very distant when you are fighting for survival. So how can we take Jesus seriously in John 10:10 when He teaches that we might have life more abundantly when we are in the middle of calamity, whether a hurricane or other hard life event? A careful look at John 10:10 may offer insight.
What is the “abundant life”?
1. Life that’s tied in to eternity
The physical manifestation of our lives will end taking all our calamities with it. Our spiritual lives, however, will not. Take a moment to do a quick parallel look at several versions of John 10:10 (here). You’ll notice that Jesus never said He came to give us abundant life, but rather “life” and that we would have that life more abundantly. The life Jesus gives is connected to eternity. That’s pretty abundant. And something happens to our outlook on our physical lives when we grasp the reality that our spiritual lives are eternal.
2. Life that receives an abundance of grace
But can we experience “abundance” in our physical lives? Yes. But it may not be what you think. The verses below teach us what we can experience in abundance now:
17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,
So, our physical lives are tied into our spiritual lives, which last forever. And our physical lives are infused with an abundance of grace, a gift from God to help us get by until our eternal life begins. This lavish grace from God shows up in our lives in many ways: relief from guilt, strength in trials, peace in turmoil, joy amidst sadness. In fact, a little verse in 2 Corinthians 8 gives us a snapshot of what “life more abundantly” can look like in the midst of calamity:
2 Corinthians 8:1-2
1 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
Despite their severe trial (spiritual persecution and severe poverty), the Macedonian churches overflowed with joy, a direct result of the grace that God had given them. No matter what kind of trial, nor how severe, we can always find little graces in the journey, probably more than we can count. In fact, the amount will be quite abundant.
And here’s a twist: you might be one of those little graces for someone else. Who in your life is experiencing some kind of calamity or a circumstance that seems less than an abundant life? Or maybe you’d like to donate to relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey? Take a practical step right now to be an agent of grace in someone’s life. If Hurricane Harvey is on your heart, below are two trusted relief agencies that have mobilized for Hurricane Harvey.