In Texas in the last couple of weeks, we’ve been living with scarcity. During the big winter storm there was suddenly a scarcity of heat, electricity, water and food. Now we are learning there are still huge shortages of clean water in some areas which has led to a scarcity of bottled water there. Some homes, with plumbing damage, still do not have water. Plumbing supplies are in demand. Grocery stores are having a hard time stocking their shelves once again as the food supply chain has been once again disrupted, this time by the hard freeze for crops and shipping issues as well. Once again, paper goods and cleaning supplies dwindled first. Gasoline was also suddenly hard to come by. And, as always, the most vulnerable people were having the hardest time.
If this year has taught us anything, it is how close we all really to live to the edge and how dependent we all are on our communities to work well together in terms of supply and demand and basic services.
Into all this fragility and scarcity, Jesus speaks a countering word. John 10:10 has long been a favorite verse of mine because it is easy to remember the citation 10:10 and because it is such a striking verse. Jesus says, speaking in a shepherding analogy, that sheep thieves come to steal, kill and destroy but he came to offer something different: real life, safe pastures, abundance…a better life than imagined. I came that you might have Life and have it abundantly.
In this season of scarcity, it is easy to wonder if the offer of abundant life is still on the table. Beyond the recent hard times in Texas, we’ve all felt a scarcity in the past year of safety, freedom to travel, gather, work and worship like we used to. Even now that we have the vaccine for Covid, it feels scarce and tricky to access with people scrambling for appointments and their turn in the line up.
The thieves seems to be winning. The ones who would steal not only the sheep, but our joy and our peace of mind as well.
Is the promise of John 10:10 still valid? Was there fine print expiration date on it that we missed?
Jesus Calling for March 2 begins boldly with these words, I am the resurrection and the Life; all lasting Life emanates from Me. People search for life in many wrong ways: chasing after fleeting pleasures, accumulating possessions and wealth, trying to deny the inevitable effects of aging. Meanwhile I offer abundant Life to everyone who turns toward me.
I love the way Sarah Young uses capitalization through her devotionals. Here, Life is capitalized. The kind of Life Christ offers us is not a lower case life. It is an upper case Life infused with fullness and abundance. That is the opposite of scarcity. I came that you might have Life in its fullness.
What does that mean to us, right now, in Texas or even just as a person on this planet in this strange time in history?
I believe it means we stop focusing on what has been seemingly stolen and embrace what is being offered to us.
The offer is still on the table.
God wants us to see the overwhelming, overflowing fullness of Life and not just what we think might be missing.
We are on the verge of spring, it is when our first Bible, creation, explodes with the most basic truth about God. Martin Luther said it like this, I quote it often, God has written the truth of resurrection not in books alone but on every leaf of springtime.
God is a specialist at sowing seeds of new life in the deepest, darkest, coldest places. God does it in the midst of death. God does in during our darkest nights of the soul. God can do it in a pandemic. Over and over again, God delivers the good news of new abundant Life..
The thief is not in charge. God is.
When I was in the midst of my breast cancer battle, one of my friends who was also in the midst of a breast cancer battle showed me a picture of her grandchildren. She said, You will have this someday. You need to fight for it. None of my children were even married then. I could barely hear her words. I never realized she was actual speaking a prophecy of healing over me. Words are so powerful.
Now I have three little grandsons born in four years. This week, I was alone with the littlest one. He’s 3 months old. He caught my eye, connected and smiled what sure looked like an “I love you” smile. I cried right there looking at him because it was so obviously the Life Jesus was speaking of. New life made eye contact and shared unspeakable joy with me. It’s real. You’ve seen it too.
The offer is still valid. New life, resurrection awaits.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to Keller, Pace and River. Go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com for more blog entries, upcoming events, information about the weekly Jesus Calling Prayer Call she co-hosts on Tuesday mornings at 7 a.m. CST.