In spite of his pressing health issues, my desire to introduce my husband at our family reunion prevailed and we changed our plans to attend at the last minute. A quick getaway trip over a long weekend was “just what the doctor ordered.”
Afterwards, William and I returned home and resumed the daily routine. Our custom is morning devotions before breakfast. Armed with warm coffee, our Bibles and two devotionals for guidance, we settled comfortably into the wing back chairs by the window. And like most mornings, the reading stimulated dialogue for possible life applications. From October 20 in Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling,” I read aloud,
“I am your living God, far more abundantly alive than the most vivacious person you know. The human body is wonderfully crafted, but gravity and the inevitable effects of aging weigh it down. Even the most superb athlete cannot maintain his fitness over many decades. Lasting abundant life can be found in Me alone.”
I finished the page and Bill asked,
“Kate, what does abundant life look like?”
It is his way, asking what something looks like to further our understanding. I remembered the Amplified translation of John 10:10 and I heard myself repeating words like, “full, to the fullest, till overflowing.” Our discussion turned a corner when Bill looked squarely at me and said,
“In my adult life, I’ve never been to a family reunion quite like yours.”
“What do you mean?”
“Kate, if I were asked to describe an abundant life, I’d begin with kitchen counters filled with rich meats, vegetables, breads, appetizers and desserts with coffee and teapots that never emptied. As absent soldiers’ pictures stood like sentinels guarding the chow line, proud parents and siblings paid tribute to their military family members as they milled freely about. Against a panoramic view of the Texas hill country, a table filled with homemade craft items and baked goods competed for the highest bid to help fund the next reunion. River walks, tractor rides, skeet shoots, hula hoops and rope toys, scrabble games, wildflowers, centipedes and dragonflies enhanced the menu as well as cows mooing, dogs barking, children laughing, men whistling, and women chatting. Aunts, uncles and cousins alike perused the family albums and told memorable stories to help bridge the generation gaps. These are the conversations that cannot fit on paper or paintings fit for a canvas. This picture of abundant life is a colorful palette of variety that could never be improved with Photoshop."
For a moment, I was speechless, but it was true. He had just described the reunion. Our family works hard to create these Kodak moments that anyone would covet. I never realized how covetous until Bill shared his observations. I am a part of a family that can’t be owned, but ours is a true wealth that can be possessed. This is the prosperity of my soul.
“Many people acquire these relational opportunities, but few truly apprehend them. Just like some folks never truly apprehend their divine identity and enjoy a genuine, relational life in Jesus.”
I confess I have taken my earthly family for granted. Some of these relationships have been white water rapids and others, placid tidal pools. You probably have similar relationships in your life. In either case, an abundant life begins with an invitation “to dive in,” a permission “to look around and see what you find.” But “life exchange” requires a response to the invitation.
As believers, we said, “Yes” to His outstretched hand when we were drowning. Then the Lord gave us to a spiritual family that continually invites us to safely wade in deeper. Hopefully, you are finding refreshment and leading others to the River of Life. From the Gospel of John, we read,
“Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood and He cried in a loud voice, ‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38 AMP
Come on in, the water is fine!