Submitted by: Pastor Donna Fuller, Rock Port & Watson United Methodist Churches
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
This spring we planted a community garden, with the intention that anyone could come and work in it and anyone could share in the harvest. We planted it on one end of the parking lot across from our church. The ground was full of gravel and weeds. There was no water source. Many people thought it would never make it to a harvest. If the seeds sprouted, the plants would just die in the heat.
Then one person talked to someone who volunteered to till the ground. Then he talked to other people and got a portable water tank set up and an offer to provide water. Several people kept the tank refilled. Still, the ground was full of gravel with very little topsoil. By the time we planted it was late in the season to plant. But we planted corn, beans, squash, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, peppers and melons.
Even the most optimistic of us has been surprised at the abundant growth of this garden. Big potatoes and onions, melon vines growing way outside the bounds of the garden with lots of melons setting on, and so many squash growing so fast we can’t keep up with them. What has also grown is the group of volunteers helping to work in the garden. I have come to believe that all of this abundant growth is God’s work.
Jesus tells us that he brings not only life, but abundant life. Sometimes it may not seem that our lives are very abundant. Even those of us who are reasonably comfortable in life don’t see our lives as abundant. It can be relative. Those who are able to pay their bills every month, go out to dinner once in a while and go on vacation once a year may seem to live an abundant life to those who cannot afford those things and who struggle just to put food on the table every day. Yet I do believe that God wants us to live an abundant life and offers that to us no matter who we are, no matter where we live. I think it just requires faith to begin to see the abundance that comes from faith.
It takes faith to plant in any year in any place. It takes faith to offer to share with others before there is even anything to share. It takes faith to work hard trying to make a project succeed when you know there are many reasons for it to fail. It takes faith to offer whatever you can when you know what you have to offer is only a small part of what it takes to bring abundance.
God brings abundant life not just in material things, even in a harvest of giant zucchini. God brings abundance in wisdom, hope, inspiration, and peace of mind. God brings abundance in family, friends, community, and life in the natural world. God brings abundance through sharing and it is through the willingness to give that we receive the abundant life God offers us.