The Quest for Abundant Life – Focus Scripture: John 10:1-10
Today’s scripture made me examine through new lenses the concepts of pasture and abundant life. A pasture is a place that has plants that are alive and that are used for the nourishment of a flock. The imagery of nourishment is associated frequently with Jesus. In these accounts, Jesus is giving something tangible to people who are hungry to satisfy their need to be fed. This feeding takes place not only in a physical sense but also in a spiritual sense, as Jesus reveals himself as the bread of life, the only sustenance that is needed.
This concept of “abundance” equates to assurance that comes when Jesus attends to the fragility and vulnerability of life. Jesus came preaching a message of hope and promising to lead followers to abundant and eternal life. In many cases, the masses heard his voice, and they followed him. Abundance equates to the comfort of the body and nourishment of the spirit in the face of tremendous odds.
In the modern day, abundance means that something is very plentiful, more than sufficient, or in rich supply. Abundance is not necessarily a quantitative concept like economic wealth or possession of material goods. Instead, it can also be qualitative and pertain to a richness in physical well-being or sufficiency of inner peace. Sometimes sheep wander into the valleys of oppression and misfortune. Sometimes they experience sad memories and lonely nights. Sometimes the sheep are victimized by crime, violence, apathy, and cynicism that plague our modern world. And often, the sheep are distracted by unfulfilled dreams and broken promises. Because the thief comes to steal their joy, kill their peace, and destroy their hope—they sometimes get confused, stressed out, and cannot find their way back to the pasture.
But Jesus is showing us the way, even today—his Word is true, sure and everlasting. If we, the modern-day sheep, listen to his voice and follow him, Jesus will lead us to pasture, he will feed us with the Bread of Life, he will guide us, and he will preserve us by his Spirit that assures a life of abundance in a world of great scarcity.
Merciful and loving God, I ask that you open my spiritual ears to hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow him. And I thank you for the promise of abundant life through Jesus who lives in me through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Amen.