In 1799, Conrad Reed discovered a seventeen-pound rock while fishing in Little Meadow Creek. Not knowing what it was made of, his family used it as a doorstop for three years. In 1802, his father, John Reed, took it to a jeweller who identified it as a lump of gold worth about $3,600. That lump of gold, which was used as a doorstop for three years in North Carolina, is one of the biggest gold nuggets ever found east of the Rockies.
All the time these people had something that was of tremendous value and yet they did not come to appreciate it until it was identified and made real in their lives. Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) Countless people, like the Reed family, have something of value at their disposal, something worth much more that gold - the Lord Jesus - and yet they fail to recognize His true worth.
Many folks see Jesus as a wise philosopher. That He is. Many people see Jesus as a great moral teacher. That He is. Many people see Him as a champion of human rights. That He is. Many see Him as a messenger of God’s love. That He is. Many see him as a prophet who, through His teaching and miracles, touched the lives many. He certainly was a marvellous teacher, one like people had never seen before. His miracles drew the attention of many. But, like His miracles, people often missed the purpose and message behind them, “I have come that they may have life”. People have to be made “alive” before they can enjoy His offer of life "to the full”.
This can only be done through repentance (a change of mind about who Jesus is and what they are trusting in to get them to Heaven) and simple faith (trusting in His sacrifice for their sin on the cross). When we repent and believe, the piece of rock becomes a piece of gold. Through faith, we enter into a relationship with God through Christ. It opens an abundant life lived "to the full." The Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in our lives and we have an encourager and guide to help us see the real value of Jesus and what an abundant life is all about.
A young girl, unaccustomed to traveling, was taking a train ride through the country, and it happened that, in the course of the day, her train was obliged to cross two branches of a river and several wide streams. The water, seen in advance, always awakened doubts and fears in the child. She did not understand how it could safely be crossed. As they drew near the river, however, a bridge appeared, and furnished a way over. Two or three times, the experience was repeated, and finally, the child leaned back with a long breath of relief and confidently stated, “Somebody has put bridges, for us, all the way!”
Think of life, like this story, as a series of bridges God lays out before us so that we can experience growth, strength and grace as we travel life’s journeys with Him. Each bridge of faith is sufficient, is unique and is built on love so that we can travel in His power and joy. He is a wonderful Saviour and He will forever champion our way. He loves us and calls you and me His own!
I close with the opening verse of an old hymn, “I’ve Found a Friend, O Such a Friend” by James C. Small. May its beautiful and enlightening words encourage you as we celebrate that “abundant life” in Him…
I've found a Friend, oh, such a Friend!
He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love,
And thus He bound me to Him.
And round my heart still closely twine
Those ties which naught can sever,
For I am His, and He is mine,
Forever and forever.
Amen. Remember He loves you! May God richly bless and keep you
– Pastor Ralph