Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Tuesday, April 12, Evening – Holy Week Day 2
By John Eldridge
The Abundant Life
Read: John 10:10b
“…I have come that they might have life and that they might live it more abundantly.”
In 1971, when I was in my early 20’s, my older brother, Joe, was a Methodist Missionary serving a little Methodist Church in Santiago, Chile. It was during this time that the worst that could happen, did happen. My older brother’s wife died. When we met Joe at McGhee Tyson and he got off the plane clutching the urn with his wife’ ashes, I knew he was in trouble. I had been planning an adventure to Chile for a long visit, but now I knew I did not just want to go, I needed to go be with Joe when he returned to his little Methodist Church in Santiago.
Before we left for Chile, however, Joe had to consult with his bosses at the General Board of Global Ministries in New York. It was in that Global Ministries office that I learned a great lesson that continues to serve me well. One of Joe’s bosses wanted to talk to me, ostensibly to discern if I had the metal to assist my brother in Chile as he recovered from his wife’s death.
I started that conversation with something like this: “I thought I would take some time out of my life…” and this person at UMC Global Ministries quickly interrupted me, saying: “Instead of taking time out of your life by joining your brother in Chile, are you not putting something in your life?” And boy, was he correct! I had the adventure of a lifetime. Living in Santiago for more than six months, learning Spanish, helping with the kids at the little Methodist Church, traveling literally all over Latin America, and in the process, providing companionship to my hurting brother. Yes, I put all that in my life.
And so it can be with Lent. Instead of thinking what you can give up for Lent, think instead about what you can add during these weeks. What can you put into your life? Perhaps you can create a more active prayer life, visit the sick or lonely, do daily scripture readings, call friends that you have not had any contact with in a while, achieve greater patience? And the list goes on.
Jesus said: “I have come that they may have life, and that they might live it more abundantly. ”Putting meaningful experiences in your life is the way to living more abundantly. Yes, Lent is the opportunity to give up some things, but it is also an opportunity to put some good practices in your life as well.
Help us Lord, to engage with Lent in a way that brings us closer to you, whether that be by adding to or subtracting from life’s regular living.