Thursday, 16 April 2009

Life to the full?

Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10.10)

It's a statement I have struggled with, at times even got angry and bitter about it, what do you mean "life... to the full"? Are you serious Jesus? It makes no sense? How can my life be "life... to the full"? I'm so frustrated, so bored, my life lacks any kind of excitement - the nearest it gets is old 'Flintstones' cartoons being on BBC2 in the mornings.

What does "life... to the full" mean to you? To me it has conjured up images of the lives I see many of my contemporaries leading - the life I expected, with a career, friends, a nice place to live, independence, energy, fun, parties, holidays, success. And yes, I get jealous when I see contemporaries and others enjoying these things; I'm only human after all.

The vicar quoted this verse at Amy's funeral and it got me thinking about it again and I realised that Amy lived life to the full. Anyone who knew her would say that, the amount of love present at her funeral spoke volumes about it. Yet she had lost many of the same things as I have, pretty much all of them and she lived life to the full.

So what does it mean to "have life, and have it to the full"? I was in serious error when I equated this to material and temporary things like success, parties, careers and holidays. Jesus completely overturns what is important and what isn't, through everything He did in His life and most especially in His death and resurrection. Where we spend eternity is far more important than what we do now, lovely as worldly success is (and I'm not saying that it is a bad thing in any way), it doesn't ultimately matter. Having life to the full is about Jesus first and foremost and about walking with Him. In this passage Jesus is talking about which gate we go through and whether we go with the 'good shepherd' (i.e. him) or the robber: whether we choose Jesus or the world. So far as I can understand at present having "life... to the full" is about living with Jesus and our relationship with Him and the future glory that awaits us, whether that includes suffering or not.

One thing I have only now noticed is that it is "have life... to the full", not "live life... to the full", I certainly cannot say that I live life to the full, but I can say that Jesus has given me (and therefore I have) "life... to the full". This is a great comfort to me because a lot of the time my life feels very empty and pointless, like I'm going nowhere and have little hope. That's why I am so glad of Jesus and the hope He brings and the future He promises, for me and Amy and all those who put their trust in Him.

1 comment:

  1. *nods vigorously*
    there's a much quoted story of a man who had lost everything - wife, children, home, friends, everything in a war, yet when he was seen in the refugee camp he was singing Christ's praises. When asked why, he replied, "I didn't realise Christ was all I needed until He was all I had"

    I'm typing this late at night, so i'm not entirely convinced it's relevant, please delete if it's not!