An Invitation to the Abundant Life
September 9, 2007
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning!
I want to talk with you today about an idea that was growing inside me during this past August vacation, as I thought of you. I was standing out on a pier over the ocean, a wonderful old wooden pier that stretched out into the water. The waves were crashing all around it. I looked out, and my soul wanted to sing, “O God, how great Thou art! How great Thou art!” I looked out on that impossibly beautiful day, the sky a perfect crystal blue, the ocean fragrant with wonderful salt air, the waves crashing over the rocks, over and over again, no two alike. And it occurred to me, as I thought of you at that time, to have a prayer for you and for our church.
The prayer I have is that you may have life, and life more abundantly. Our God is a God of abundant graciousness. I looked at those waves and thought about how they’ve been crashing every day and every night without ceasing since the beginning and will go on doing so; they are a symbol of God’s gracious abundance. That water teems with life and with energy, not just a little bit, but in super-abundance.
My prayer for you is that you would have the super-abundant life, not just a little life, but the super-abundant life. In the coming weeks, we will discuss this idea of abundant living. I’m excited about the idea of perhaps having a new slogan for our church, something like “Our purpose is to help people live an abundant life through Jesus Christ.” My prayer for you is abundance in every way – abundant good health, abundant prosperity, and abundant spirituality, a richness in those gifts that can only come through God and through our Lord Jesus Christ. That is my hope and my wish for you.
I have a scenario playing out in my mind where two men, Jack and Fred, were bowling, and they talked as they bowled. Jack goes to church; Fred does not. Fred says to Jack, “Jack, I understand you’re a member of that church there.”
Jack says, “Yes, I am.”
Fred says, “How do you like it?”
Jack says, “Oh, I like it right well.”
Fred says, “What do you like about it?”
And Jack says, “Well, the people there are wonderful. I’ve met some of the nicest people anywhere in that church. The preacher’s not bad, either. And oh, they sing with gusto, and it just lifts my heart. And you know, when Janice was ill, a wonderful thing happened. There was this lady who called us and said, ‘Can we help with meals? My team and I would love to bring some meals to you.’ And was that ever a help! What a blessing! The church is just a great place to be.”
Fred says, “That’s great. Let me ask you a question. What’s the main thing your church tries to do for folks? What’s the main thing about this Jesus fella?”
Now Jack is challenged. What’s he going to say? He’s just got a few seconds to put into words what the promise and the hope of Jesus Christ and the church are. So, how about we put these words into Jack’s voice? “Well, Fred, the purpose of our church is to help people and to help people live an abundant life through Jesus Christ. Not just a little-bit life, but an abundant life through Jesus Christ.”
And maybe Fred will say, “What time is the service?”
Jack says, “8:45 and 10:30.”
Fred says, “Maybe I’ll join you on Sunday.”
Jack says, “I hope you do. Why don’t you come sit with us?”
I’m hoping that each of us might find someone that needs more abundance in his or her life—more health, more prosperity, more peace, more love, more joy, not in just a little-bit form, but in super-abundant form.
In our Gospel this morning, Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and have it abundantly” – John 10, verse 10. What’s your life been up to this point? How are you doing with this topic of abundance? Is it just that you’re trying to muddle through somehow? Is it that you’re feeling just a little bit of hope or just a little bit of faith or just a little bit of love? Oh, my friends, there’s a lot more in store. Let’s stay close together. Let’s draw closer to Jesus together, because His promise and His purpose are clear as a bell. He is come that we – you and I, and everyone who needs Montgomery United Methodist Church – may have life, and may have it super-abundantly.
In the weeks to come, we’re going to talk more about this. So come back and join us again, won’t you? Invite a friend! Because God loves you. I do, too. Have a blessed week. Amen.
© 2007 Anthony J. Godlefski