One purpose of Jesus’ coming to our sin-plagued planet is clearly spelled out in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV). Jesus is not only interested in us enjoying eternal life with Him in heaven and the new earth but desires us to begin enjoying abundant life now and today. While we sing of life “in the sweet bye and bye,” some aspects of that life can already be experienced in this life. Abundant life, or “life in all its fullness,” is the aspiration of many, if not of everyone. Unfortunately, in chasing after abundant life, people often engage in activities that leave them heartbroken. How then can one enjoy this abundant life here and now?
Sustained Connection With God
Abundant life is the outcome of a sustained connection with God. Jesus elaborated on this process when He declared, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”1
The correlation between abundant life and connectedness with God is illustrated in a unique way in the life of Joseph. The expression “the Lord was with him” occurs four times in Genesis 39, and as a result we read, “The Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand” (vs. 3). When a steward maintains connection with God, physical, material, and spiritual prosperity are the reward.
Success or prosperity that derives from a connection with God will keep the individual humble (see Ps. 75:6). God is acknowledged as the Source, Lord, and Owner of everything.
In Deuteronomy 4, Moses reminded the children of Israel that abundant life is conditional to obedience to God’s requirements. Obedience would result in long life.
“You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”2
Obedience wouldn’t make them God’s people; this was already their identity. They were to obey as an expression of their relationship to God. By God’s grace, stewards obey what is revealed, and the reward is abundant life. They are careful in following God’s instructions in managing health and finances, critical areas affecting quality of life.
Stewards acknowledge that their bodies are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-18). Hence, they endeavour to maintain good health by refraining from indulging in any harmful substances. Substances such as liquor, tobacco, and drugs are totally avoided. In addition, stewards are vigilant about what is placed on the table. They have the wisdom to discern that not everything called food is good for the body. Some foods are appealing to the eyes and taste good in the mouth but are detrimental to health. Foods that lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., have no place on the table of a steward eager to preserve abundant life. This additional insight informs the food intake of wise stewards. “Care should be taken in the selection of food. Our diet should be suited to the season, to the climate in which we live, and to the occupation we follow.”3
Avoiding injurious substances and the careful selection of food are important but insufficient on their own to ensure abundant life. Physical activity is considered a must. In the first Ellen White book that I read, I found the following statement: “Strength comes by exercise; activity is the very condition of life.”4 Our physical health is closely linked to how we keep our bodies through regular exercise.
Stewards embrace the concept of God’s ownership over everything (Ps. 24:1). This conviction couples with their willingness to obey and leads them to practice the returning of tithe and the giving of offerings. Their motive is not to receive blessings; however, faithfulness is always rewarded in one way or another. Abundant life is the outcome, and it covers all dimensions of existence. Obedience in the area of finances can be such a sensitive issue that God summons us to “try” Him (Mal. 3:10, NKJV). There is perhaps no other area where God invites us to try Him except here. Those who are afraid that returning tithe and giving offerings will reduce them to poverty can find reassurance in Malachi 3.
In Jesus, abundant life is not only a distant reality. It can start today. Those who are faithful stewards, maintain their daily connection with God, and manage their lives in harmony with His instructions will live life to the fullest.
- John 15:6
- Deuteronomy 4:40
- Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 296.
- Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 80.