I want you to meet Pete Paulson, Associate Regional Director for Young Life in the North Star Region (MN, ND, SD). He provided this word of encouragement to Young Life staff of the region last week. With his permission, I want to share it with you. It is an excellent, thought-provoking treatment of the abundant life Jesus promised us all…
|A word of encouragement from Peter Paulson|
How do I live “Life to the full”? I want it. I want it so badly. When my time comes to go home to Jesus, I want to know that I experienced everything that this world has to offer. We talk about this abundant life a lot in Young Life. We even promise this to kids. Life with Christ is life to the full. However, I’m starting to realize that what I thought “abundant life” is, might in fact, be found in a different way.
“What must I do to inherit eternal life?” the young man asked. It’s the same question I asked, just framed in a different way. “You know what the Bible says” says Jesus. “I do, and I follow what it says” the rich young man replies. “There’s a deeper way than the rules…let go of what you have, give it away to those who need it, and come spend time with me” Jesus offered. He offered him life to the full, but the man’s eyes looked down, and he slowly walked away not willing to give up his previous dreams.
Jesus looked at those with him and said basically, “see how hard it is to live a different way? See how hard it is to go against the status quo and look at a new way?” Peter said, “ but we’ve followed you!” Jesus looked at him with compassion and concern and encouraged him, “Yes, Peter, you are right, and the things you left at the fishing boat pale in comparison to what you have! Life with me, and life in true community! Hundreds of times better than what you left, but don’t forget, with it comes persecution and pain. You can’t have one without the other because my way isn’t just about you, its about life for everyone”.
Life to the full only matters for any of us if it is possible for all of us. God has rigged it to be just so. Our lives are linked together and also linked with Him. Those who are rich and privileged, though, can be owned by their possessions; physical possessions as well as their self-ambition and dreams can get in the way. So those with much must let go, and give to others, so everyone can have abundant life together. They must see that the old way only worked for the few, because it took advantage of the many.
Jesus offers us an opportunity to change and do life differently, by letting go of what we cling to, and instead cling to one another and to Him. This is what eternity looks like, and we can live it now.
I pray we do not walk away.