In a nutshell, Jesus spells out his purpose for us all. This is what we all desire; to have a peaceful life and to have it to the full.
Every week I accompany my wife to the Muri night market selling plates of food, to raise money for my children’s school fees overseas. I get to talk to a lot of tourist from Europe, the US, New Zealand and Australia. I also get to talk to island tourists who are Samoans, Tongans, Fijians and other ethnic groups who live in either New Zealand or Australia.
I ask them the question, “How do you like our little paradise?” I have yet to get a negative response. They all love the place. They say it’s clean, beautiful, safe and friendly. They really do enjoy talking to the locals.
What they say is music to my ears and I am proud of our paradise and our Cook Islands heritage. I often ask them how many times they have visited our island. The most I have been told so far is 11 times. There are many who visited our paradise numerous times and wish they could live here.
It makes me proud as a Cook Islander when visitors talk like this about our home. I reflect back on how I contribute to this setting. I believe it begins in the home. We all come from a home setting. When the home is happy, the community is happy, when the community is happy the country is happy. I need to take full responsibility to ensure the members of my home and family, are safe, sheltered, and happy.
In the home there are many dynamics happening, and the pressure of work, bills to pay, land matters, family disputes, and many other things all add to the pressure of keeping the family together, sane and healthy.
Neglect of our family priority will build pressure to boiling point and then the unpleasant happens. The breakdown of the home will affect the immediate community and it swells further to the wider community.
However, this is not the case in the vast majority of our homes and community. That is why we still have a relatively beautiful and peaceful society. Many would pay lots of money to have a piece of land and build homes here. They want to live in our peaceful society and experience the harmony we have.
Note. Jesus in our key Bible verse today starts with these words, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” (John 10:10)
This is where the challenge is: There is an opposition to the peaceful life we aspire to and it’s likened to a thief, according to the text, whose only interest is to “steal, kill and destroy”.
This is the other side to the coin. Our life is a constant battleground by the two forces, of good and evil. Jesus on one side and the devil Satan on the other side. Jesus offers abundant life, while the devil pursues destruction. Our role in the controversy is to decide which way we should follow.
When we follow the story of Jesus in the Bible, we will notice the enormous sacrifice and the risks He took to ensure we have life to the full. Satan continuously challenges Jesus in bringing about doubt, portraying Jesus in a negative light, attributing all the suffering we are experiencing in our world today to him. This has never been Jesus’ focus; He loves us so much that He was willing to die on the cross to guarantee our salvation and eternal life. Therefore, Jesus’ plans for this abundant life includes eternity. It has no ending.
This is way beyond our human understanding. We may ask, “When, why, and how is this eternal life to happen?”
Let me take you back to our earlier discussion in this church talk article. We have a beautiful paradise. Our island is clean and beautiful: it’s the people that make or break the place. Having loving, kind and peaceful people brings about joy, safety and happiness. We may have beautiful homes, two to three means of transport, the latest technology such as i-Phones, computers, big flat screen TVs, but these all amount to nothing. Why? If the focus is on these things, then the personal connection with one another is clouded by the desire to focus on things rather than people.
God’s eternal plan includes and involves people and it encourages a strong loving relationship among individuals. It’s a matter of the heart. When this is the case, our task then is to build each other up. To offer our shoulder to someone who is crying and hurting, to encourage hope to the hopeless, to bring a smile back to those who are struggling in life. The bottom line is, the more happy people there are, the bigger and greater the domain for experiencing this abundant life. It begins now and continues to grow.
This is what Jesus is offering. When we go through God’s Word, we see the contrast of God’s way versus Satan’s ways and plans.
Both ways have eternal consequences. God’s way leads to abundant eternal life, while Satan’s way leads to utter destruction and death. In the Bible, we are told Jesus came into the world, He died, was buried, and He rose again. He lives today and by achieving victory over death we are assured eternal life. It’s interesting when we discover what the Bible teaches about death and the victory over it because our leader, Jesus, overcame it. It will be the same for us too, if we so desire. This is all part of God’s abundant life strategy.
How does this make me feel? I’m overwhelmed to think our God invested all of heaven in Jesus to confirm to me abundant life…. The choice is ours and God has promised His Holy Spirit to help us through in choosing him.
Let me close by quoting our text again in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Have a great weekend in the Lord.