‘The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).’
Each morning on my way to work I drive past the famous Richmond Hill View. This view has been a popular visitor spot for generations, inspiring countless artists and writers. It is famous for its beauty - and for being the only view in Britain specifically preserved by an Act of Parliament. Yet I rarely stop long enough to take it in. Daily I miss its beauty in the busyness of life, too focused on my destination and my day ahead to stop and breathe in the beauty of God's creation before me.
God has a calling on each of our lives. A plan and a purpose for us all. We all have our part to play, we each of us, as it says in our church’s vision, in His strength are ‘reaching out with Gods love and power, helping one another live for Jesus’. Be it at work, in the supermarket, with our neighbours, in the school playground, or simply talking to passers-by on a walk. But does that mean that we’re so busy fulfilling our vision and work that we don’t enjoy the journey?!
In our culture today, we get a lot of our worth and value from our ‘who’ and our ‘do’. Who we are and what we do for a living has become our defining characteristic. This in turn drives our busyness and need to constantly be moving forward and achieving in life.
But Jesus gave us life so we can derive pleasure from being alive, not just so we can go through the motions until he comes back to get us. He gave His life in our place so that we can enjoy ours! He came so that we can have life, life in abundance, to the full and overflowing. Enjoying the journey on the way to our destination.
As simple as it sounds, I know in my life, this is something I need to learn how to do more freely. Because, I find sometimes enjoying life is a decision. A decision to choose to celebrate God's joy daily. A joy that’s not based on my current circumstances, but based on the hope and certainty that we have in Jesus. A simple childlike belief that releases a deep joy. A joy that we already have in our spirits - because the Holy Spirit lives there!
As we believe that it is God's heart for us to enjoy our lives, we find a power that lifts us above our circumstances, and moves us beyond into a place of joyful worship to the one who gave His life, so we can ‘have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).’
Maybe next time I drive past Richmond Hill I might stop to get out and drink in the view - I might even buy a coffee too!
Jesus, I don’t want to miss out on the fullness of joy that you have for me today. Help me to live my life each day to the full, leaving my problems in your care. Amen