Most people are looking for signs of being blessed. We pray for blessings, we wait for blessings, we see others being blessed, but not us. As a result we feel empty. We feel God is doing good for others. We feel God is taking long to answer our prayers and grant us our wishes. This mentality of scarcity that we reflected on for the past two weeks makes us to walk with emptiness. We do not realise that God has already blessed us and is blessing us all the time.
At the best of times we see blessings as material possessions. We want to have a good life measured by the cars we drive, the houses we live in, the clothes we wear, the money in the bank account. We forget that these things are all perishable. That means then blessings are perishable. I have known people who had all the money in the world and yet today are poor. I know some rich people who are miserable in life. The quality of life cannot be just measured by our possessions.
On the other hand we think that the blessing of the abundance of life is in having a good happy life without troubles and challenges, without pain and tears, without strife and anxiety. In the process we miss the abundance of life by focusing on all the negative things we are experiencing. The reality is that life is a canvas laced with different phases. Some of these phases are good experiences and yet some are bad experiences.
If we are honest with ourselves there is no one here who has not shed a tear, been anxious and challenged in life. By the same token nobody ever lives without smiling or celebrating life no matter how long or short such moments are. Some people sitting here have met their loved ones and it was the best thing to happen to them. Of course that honeymoon phase did not last forever. Does that mean the relationship is over? No, there will still be moments of love and frustration one after the other. There are those who have celebrated a new job with a higher salary and soon after the first pay cheque, the mean boss makes it hard to continue working. Does that mean you never jumped for joy when you were hired? No! Some have had the joy of falling pregnant and due to pregnancy complication, the pregnancy was terminated. The joy was in the possibility of a new life coming into the family. Some have had wonderful moments with their loved ones who soon died. Will the focus be on their death or the life they have lived? The abundance of life and the blessing should be on their life than elevating their death.
With all of this then how do we celebrate the abundance of life without feeling that we still need to be blessed:
1. The Abundance of Life requires Keeping the Faith: Faith as explained by Paul, It is believing in the things not yet seen. We structure our lives as if those things have already been revealed to us. We look forward to them happening. In other words we live with a deep sense of hope that they are going to happen. People who have hope have something to look forward to. Even when things don’t look good today, they hope tomorrow is going to be a different day with a different experience. Hope leads to the abundance of life as we look forward. It is this sense of hope that gives meaning to life. People who have lost hope lose meaning to life. They become despondent to the point of being suicidal. They no longer have reason to live because there is no more meaning to life. If you have hop in your life, you are well on your way to abundant life. You are blessed and you can be a blessing to others who know your adversities. As they see you looking forward they will be inspired.
As you look forward expecting the next day to be different you then discover that you also move forward. Life does not stand still for people with hope. It does not matter how long or short the strides are, they are moving forward. The focus is not all on what is happening now. It is also on the opportunities that lie ahead. When we see opportunities then we are blessed, because we have something to look forward to and to work towards. This sense life going on with all the adversaries of life leads to the abundance of life. So keeping the faith is important for us to realise the abundance of life.
2. The Abundance of Life requires Perseverance: People who look forward and move forward are determined people. The persevere even when everything around them says they must give up and give in. They refuse to define their lives by their challenges, but they in turn define the challenge, by pressing on. To be determined is to be focused and resolute. It is this mentality that even though we are sitting in ashes we scratch ourselves to remind ourselves that healing is coming. The determination is a blessing as it leads to the abundance of life beyond what we are experiencing at the moment. I like the story of Thomas Edison, who invented the first working light bulb. He tried for 299 times and it did not work. Only on the 300th time did he get it right. When asked if was he not despondent the other 299 times he said, “No I wasn’t, every time it did not work I knew exactly how not to do it the next time. Such is a life of perseverance. We learn how not to do it the next time.
Of course at times we need people who will support us along the way. We have people in our lives who will encourage us not to give up or give in. We have people who keep on reminding us of the prize that awaits us if we run the race. To have such people is a blessing that helps us see the abundance of life.
We also need to note that pressing on must be done with integrity. Even though Job had sores from the sole of his feet to the top of his head, he maintained integrity. He was consistent in his love for God. He refused to allow his circumstances to change his character. When we allow our circumstances to change our character then we lose integrity. For instance, when your partner cheats on you and you then also decide to cheat on them, you lose integrity. When you are wronged and the person has forgotten to show you humanity and you then decide to hide your humanity and act in a similar manner as them, you lose integrity. Integrity is when you choose peace instead of retaliating. In Biblical terms it is called peace. The abundance of life is in maintaining our character, in maintaining our humanity. To be human after all is to be made in the image of God, and this makes us to be capable of forgiving just as God is forgiving.
3. Abundance of Life is about Testifying: When we have faith that makes us look forward and move forward, when wen we persevere because of the determination, support and press on with integrity, we soon discover that we have stories to share about our journey. This is such a powerful thing, because it helps us others realise that there is hope for them too. In order for us to testify we need to be aware of the good that has happened in spite of the challenges. We have a wonderful opportunity to do this. We write so much on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. We never post anything about our journey. We post about things that hurt others, than things that uplift. The time we spend on these platforms could be used reflecting on lives, i.e., journaling. When we journal we become aware of the many blessings we receive each day. Without the awareness we soon forget and as a result we have nothing to share. We all have a story to tell about our lives. As we share these stories we will be surprised at how abundant life is.
The abundance of life is in the fact that we are blessed. As we look at our blessings through faith and hope as we look forward and move forward to grab opportunities; we discover the abundance of life. As we persevere with determination, support for other and with integrity we discover the fullness of life. We then have stories to tell. Is your life any different from these three points? If not, you are blessed to be a blessing through the abundance of your life.