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Enough of Abundance

Remember last week’s oh it’s so amazing to work outside post? Well, I have learned something; while the phrase life in abundance has been on my heart as I’ve rested in the beauty of God’s creation… 

Pollen in abundance is something I am quickly learning to despise. 

So no, I am not spending hours outside anymore. Because those lovely hours leave me in a sniffling, itchy-eyed mess. 

As I’ve been pondering this dichotomy - finding spiritual solace in the same place that leads to physical suffering (okay, a bit dramatic, but stay with me) - I can’t help but think about boundaries. Moderation. 

The stuff that’s not in abundance. 

The phrase life in abundance comes from Jesus’ teaching in John 10.

He says, “a thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (verse 10). 

Now, I don’t know about you, but I like that idea. Abundance. The word itself even sounds luxurious, fancy, teeming with energy. It makes me crave it. Have a more more more mindset. 

But many things are harmful in abundance. 

My first example, of course, is pollen. It may be amazing for the reproduction of trees and plants, but it is the opposite of amazing for me. 

And I don’t think I need to explain why phrases like alcohol in abundance or drugs in abundance don’t have the same connotation as Jesus’ words do. 

Or take a look at medicine. A long-term abundance of antibiotics can do more harm than good. Too much sun exposure can lead to heat stroke. Or junk food in abundance. Social media in abundance. My goodness, even exercise in abundance can have negative consequences. 

But, if you’re like me, restriction doesn’t sound nearly as fun as abundance

I mean, at our core, humankind is not very good with boundaries (Adam and Eve and a forbidden fruit. Need I say more?). 

Our sinful nature makes us crave everything. But the problem is, most of the time, everything is simply too much. 

Speaking of the Garden of Eden, you know how Adam and Eve were able to walk with God, be in His presence? Yeah, no more of that. 

Like staring at the sun on a summer day, the Son is too great for us (sorry, couldn’t resist that play on words). Because of our sin and our not-God-ness, we cannot see God and survive. Even touching the Ark of the Covenant - where God’s Presence dwelt with the Israelites - resulted in death

Which brings me back to a garden. My garden, this time. 

(I do still spend time out there, just in smaller chunks. And you know what? Not having an abundance of time in nature makes me appreciate the time I do have even more.)

Right before I started writing this post, I took a few minutes to sit in the solitude of His creation, to ask for inspiration (since I usually have no clue what I’m going to write about) and guidance. 

Suddenly, there at my feet, I found it. In the form of a bee. 

Because I have the fascination of a child, I watched this bee. Flower to flower. Again and again. 

But he did not branch out from his little section of clover-covered grass. 

You see, there was another bee working on the patch beside him.

Bee A didn’t hoard the whole yard for himself because he knew he didn’t need it all. And similarly, Bee B didn’t attack his cohort for taking some sweet nectar for himself. 

It’s like somehow, the bees sensed what they needed… and they knew it was not an abundance. 

And logistically, a bunch of weighed-down nectar-drunk bees would not be very nice. They wouldn’t be able to live very functional, full lives if they were too sleepy or too heavy to fly back to their queen.

The same principle applies to us, except we have a King. 

Friends, God did not promise us things in abundance. Food in abundance. Success in abundance. Romance in abundance. Fame in abundance. Ease in abundance. No. He promised us something much better: Himself.  

Jesus, the Bread of Life, is our sustenance… day after day. So, when He’s talking about giving us life in abundance, I think He’s talking about Himself. 

The rest of John 10 is all about Jesus being our Good Shepherd, and my gosh, this Shepherd has laid down His life for His sheep. Given His life, Himself, over to us… 

So that, one day, we will be able to not only know our Good Shepherd’s voice, but know His face too. We will have that face-to-face encounter with Life Himself, just like it was before that pesky serpent got in the way.

So that abundant life? Yeah, I want that. Thanks to Jesus, we can have that.

But here’s the kicker: 

We have to learn to be content with His abundance. To view Him as enough… not riches or success or whatever other cravings that compete with Him.

And so, I will end this post with a proverb that has been stuck in my head for weeks: 

“God, I'm asking for two things... give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little. If I’m too full, I might get independent, saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’ If I’m poor, I might steal and dishonor the name of my God” (Prov 30 7-9, MSG). 

The writer has another request, but I want us to focus on this.

May this be our prayer - that we become content with our Bread of Life. Our abundant, otherworldly, amazing Life. 


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