The Man of Abundance (2)
ancient and everlasting dream of prosperity and peace. The yearning for the kingly reign of God to be realised on earth was an expression of the fundamental human longing for abundance, for a plenty that guarantees security, healing, justice, prosperity, freedom, fulfilment and peace for all.
- Jesus came as the Man of Abundance
- The Spirit is God’s personal energy/our personal energy to inspire, focus and realise the dream
- God’s dream of abundant life for all
- Has to be made specific, concrete and personal
- For the individual, and for the community
Gifts - symbols of abundance
Receiving creates a relationship
The good news is that in Jesus’s teaching and preaching, we have all the material we need to learn afresh how to fulfil God’s intention for us, that purpose that is innate in us, that humanity should live well, thriving, fulfilled and prosperous. And in Jesus of Nazareth we have an exemplary exponent of how abundant life is created. This was the point of everything he taught, and the purpose in the ways he chose to demonstrate it: “I have come,” he said, “so that they might have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus practised what he preached: he created abundant life, wherever he went, and he taught his disciples how to do the same, and how to pass on what they learned. Jesus knew that he would never have time to reach everyone who needed his message, and so he was determined that his message and methods would not be lost. To that end he established specific ways in which succeeding generations would be able to remember and replicate his work.
His determination became ever more sharply focused as it became clear to him that his ministry would be short and his life could come to an abrupt and bloody end. His decision to position himself where a confrontation would become inevitable, in effect to invite the attention of his enemies, was a deliberate intervention that was entirely consistent with his theology, his methods and his faith, though it was some time before the disciplines could grasp the depth and simplicity of either his thinking or his utter trust in the God he called Father. And still longer before they learned how to emulate him.
Nevertheless, they did as they were told. It was not their fault that two thousand years of human fallibility distorted and corrupted the content and context of Jesus’ message so that for long periods it lay fallow, robbed of its life-giving, life-enriching, life-affirming power. Nor is it our fault that we live in an age when Western society - at least in Britain and Western Europe - is inoculated against the Gospel because it believes that it knows what Christianity is all about, and that such beliefs are no longer credible, relevant, necessary or desirable in our day.
What gets me excited is discovering how Jesus’ teaching, example and presence generates abundant life right now. Does so by connecting with, tapping into, using and directing our common human longing for abundance. And that this process begins with the very idea of abundance itself. That we begin to experience abundance just by thinking about it. Just by imagining it. But that imagining abundance is the first step in creating it. In making it real for ordinary people in practical ways that meet their specific needs. And that anyone can learn how to do this. And anyone can learn how to pass it on.
Imagining abundance is only the beginning. What we want to know is how Jesus created abundant life. And how anyone of us can do the same.
Why should anyone settle for less?