Have you ever heard one of those statements that just didn’t make sense but really made you think? “Life is wasted on the living,” is one of those statements. I heard it in a movie and it made me think.
It made me ask myself, am I really living? Am I just mechanically walking through this life going to work, paying the bills and getting along? And if I am is that really living? In John 10:10 Jesus said that He came that we might have life abundantly. When I read this in context I see that Jesus was speaking about being the Good Shepherd and how the other shepherds were just out to kill, steal and destroy the sheep.
Abundant life comes through the one we follow. If I follow anyone but Jesus my life will never reach abundance. And if I follow the abundance I have lost my way. Clearly the parable of the Good Shepherd is one that should help us focus on what matters eternally. We can’t take the things of this life with us to eternity, but we take our reputation with us. On judgment day God won’t ask us how big a TV we owned or how much money we had in the bank, but He will ask us to account for what we did and our motives for doing those things.
It is easy to get distracted by things and begin to follow them instead of following the One who made all things. In the story to the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), the son got focused on himself and took what was his and went the way of his flesh. He soon found out that the things of this world run out when you just follow your desires. His life only improved when he humbled himself and returned to his father. He submitted himself to his father despite the consequences and experienced a warm reception. For a while he wasted his life but when he humbled himself and submitted to his father’s authority his life became abundant.
I have never connected these two stories before but they clearly show the same thing from two different perspectives. The son was a follower who took what was given to him and used it unwisely not thinking about the future. In essence he quit following the shepherd and followed what he perceived as abundance. When the abundance ran out he realized who was the source of his abundance and eventually humbled himself and returned to his source.
God is the source of life and Jesus brought abundant life for us. But before you can partake in that abundant life you must humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and realize He is the source. We are nothing without Him. Following Jesus to get abundance won’t help you, but following Jesus because you realize that He is the One who died for your sins and made a way for you to connect with God the Father will change your life. Just like the prodigal who realized that the source of his physical life and his abundance was his father we need to realize the same about God the Father.
Join me this week in re-focusing on the Good Shepherd and God the Father who sent Him. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and I’ll be back next week with more.