Sometimes it’s good to pick a kinda long book of the Bible and read it all in one sitting. Of course, the trouble is finding the time to do that. I found the time (and then some)…on an airplane…headed for Thailand. I picked the book of John, because it is my favorite Gospel, and it sort of does read like a novel.
I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.
-Jesus (John 10:10)
And I think there was some divine intervention involved too, because this running theme surfaced that I had never really noticed before. It wasn’t anything new, but I think it was God’s gentle whispers to my heart on a very eventful, very important day.
See, the book of John (I’ve now decided) is all about abundance. This is the book where Jesus says those famous words I quoted up there. He gives us life to the full. This is also the book where He tells us He’s like water that forever takes away your thirst, and the bread of life that fully satisfies. Pretty cool. But, then, read on, because the stories in this Gospel also point to a God who is all about abundance.
Take the story of Jesus miraculously feeding 5,000+ people with five loaves and two fish. Amazing, right? I mean, even if they each got one tiny piece of bread, that would still be amazing. Yet, do you know what the Bible says? It says that Jesus gave them as much as they wanted…and there were leftovers. Again, this is a God who satifies in abundance.
I’ll give you one more example (though there are more). Jesus sees his disciples, and they’re struggling to catch just one fish on their boat. He tells them to throw down their nets, and — as you can guess — they catch some fish. But it’s not like they catch 10 fish, or 20 fish, or even 50 fish. No, they caught so many fish, they couldn’t even haul ’em in (153 in all). Our God is a God of abundance.
You’d think I’d be done, but the theme continues (can you believe it?). The best part of this book (I think) is Jesus’ last moments with his disciples (ch. 13-17), his last moments before the cross. The Bible says that Jesus shows them the full extent of his love. He washes their feet. He prays for them. He comforts them. All right before He dies for them. Love…overflowing. Love…in abundance.
That part always gets to me. I read it often, but I never before noticed this phrase that Jesus keeps saying to his disciples during all of this. He says, “ask anything in my name, and I will do it.” Four times in his final conversation, He tells them to ask and they will receive. Our God loves to give…freely and abundantly.
Two things came to my mind as this theme unfolded before me. First of all, I was deeply comforted, knowing that the God who put me on this plane and led me to a foreign land, is the God that gives and loves abundantly. His plans for my life are complete, fully satisfying, and overflowing with all of God’s best.
Secondly, I wondered why we fail to ask. His love never runs dry, and He willingly gives to all who ask, so why do we fail to ask? Is it fear? Is it pride? Is it unbelief? Maybe it’s because we’re afraid of getting what we really want. Maybe it’s because we know that this life of abundance is not about more stuff, or more self, or an easier road. It’s so much greater those things. Are we receiving all that God has for us today? Or are we afraid to ask…limiting Him and the love He desires to lavish upon us?
I don’t know what it all means, really. I don’t even know where it’s gonna take us. But I can’t help but follow. So I’ll keep asking, and seeking, and loving the God who loves us so abundantly, so extravagantly that He came and died on a cross that we might have life…and have it to the full.