Friday, September 26, 2008

Life is Not a Game

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)

Game Some people think of life as a game, a stage play where a person fights his or her way through different stages in life to achieve the ultimate goal of becoming rich and successful. Some, however, see life as a meaningless journey beginning from infancy and ending with death, where nearing the end of the road is a status of non-entity and the dependency on others for support before dying. Yet there are others who believe life is all about having fun while one is alive, to eat, drink, and be merry.

As Christians, our perspective of life should be completely different from the world, because we have been set free and redeemed at a price. Our lives are not our own, and we have been called by God to live our lives for His purpose.


For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. (Romans 14:7­8)

Jesus, in the Gospel of John, said He has come that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). What do we understand by living an abundant life? Is it living a life of riches and abundance, or is it living life abandoned of riches?

In Matthew 19 and Luke 18, Jesus seemed to suggest the abandonment of riches in order to live the abundant life when he told the rich young ruler to sell all his possession and give to the poor before following Him (Matthew 19:21-22; Luke 18:22-23). Some Christians, however, believe that Jesus, in abandoning His riches to become poor for our sake, has through His poverty granted all believers to become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9), and they believe this is what John was referring to when he used the word ‘prosper’ in his epistle.


Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2)

Not withstanding these arguments, there are some Old Testament verses that advocate abundance of wealth and prosperity with obedience.

Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, (Deuteronomy 30:9a)

Then you will prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD commanded Moses concerning Israel. (1 Chronicles 22:13a)

It is therefore reasonable to expect blessings to accompany obedience to God, and many Christians see this as an underlining truth. Some, however, go a step further to advocate that living the abundant life means living lives with riches and prosperity.

I myself have lived a relatively good life before, with more than enough material abundance to satisfy my wants and occasional indulgence on luxuries. God, however, has a higher calling for me to live a different kind of abundant life, not of the riches of the world, but of riches built on the foundation of solid rock (Luke 6:48).

After going through different stages in life, I have learnt that abundant life does not mean to live in riches, neither does it mean to live in deprivation, but rather it is to live for the Lord in all circumstances—for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health—to stay faithful and be a good steward of God's providence and resources. This, I believe, is the true meaning of living an abundant life, a life dedicated for the purpose of God, where only by serving Him can we truly be satisfied, not according to the measurement of riches in this world, but according to the providence of God in living a life of contentment and sufficiency.

Teach us, therefore, O Lord, to understand the true meaning of abundant life, not as the world sees it, but as divine providence for us to live our lives according to Your will. Help us, in all circumstances, put You first above all else, in riches or in poverty, to be a good steward of Your bountiful blessings, resources, and wealth. Grant us the ability to serve You faithfully in all we do, knowing that only in You can we truly live our lives abundantly.

NOTE: All scripture references in this article are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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