There is an article in the latest issue of Relevant that has stuck with me recently. It was written by Ed Young. He tells the story of a young woman who attends the church he pastors (Fellowship Church in TX) and how after being transported and transferred to several hospitals, doctors said she had a growth on her brain and a blood vessel had busted, sending her into a coma. His words struck me when he said, “Wednesday she went to sleep like she always did. The following Wednesday, I [he] preached her funeral.”
What made her death so significant to him was the way she had lived her life. She tried to do everything with excellence, mentored younger women in the church, was a wife and a good friend to his (Ed Young’s) family. He stated that she was constantly immersing herself in new activities, reinventing herself by watching the world around her, and with her passion she influenced people to take their creativity and the way they viewed God to a different level in their everyday lives.
John 10:10 states that Jesus came that we might have an abundant life. Vanessa (the young woman in this story) seems to typify someone who lived the abundant life using her gifts to impact the world around her for Christ. Vanessa lived a short life, but an abundant one. Jesus didn’t want us to live a goody-goody safe, average life, but one in which we see Him do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.
In this short life we each have on earth… Yes, while we all would like to think we’re here for the long haul, whether we live 30 or 90 years, it’s just a small span of time we have to impact the world around us for Christ. God is God and we are not. He can give, but while it’s an unpleasant thought, He can also take away. That is reason enough to live an abundant life each day. Knowing each day that God is a God of second chances (and heaven knows He’s given us each more than one second chance), why would we waste what He has given us? There are opportunities to be seized, people to meet and love, places to bring light and hope, change to be initiated.
I am so thankful that God directed my path back to NC and ultimately placing Elevation Church in my path. I am seeing so many people around me (myself included) learning to live the abundant life that God has called us to. Just this past Sunday, we held spontaneous baptisms outside. I helped set up on Saturday getting bags of baptism clothes (everything from shorts to underwear) ready for people who would be coming to church, not knowing that that day, God would call them to make a public declaration of their faith. God moved in the hearts of over 600 people, calling them to make their association with Him public. This is what an abundant life offers. Seeing and being a part of more than you could ask or imagine.
Ed Young talked about the pace of life making it difficult to really stop and assess where we’re going and how we’re doing in this journey called life. Reading the whole article made ME stop and ask myself that question. It pushed me to dig a bit deeper and ask myself, no matter how long I live, what do I want my legacy to be? What do I want people to remember about me? Vanessa’s life, not her death, spurred many people to commit to living a John 10:10 life. This kind of reminds me of my grandpa. I think he lived a John 10:10 life. He did many things over the course of his life and touched many people. I remember who he was and what he did and it pushes me to be a better person.
Recently with the summer off I’ve had a lot of time to think about these things and you know, sometimes we do get a bit too comfortable and I realized I might be entering the safety zone. So, before I could change my mind, I made a decision and talked to a few people about a possible change for a while in my volunteering at church. I’ve been in Quest for almost the entire time I’ve been attending Elevation (a little over 2 years now). I’ve seen so many changes, growth, new faces, new volunteers, role changes, etc. and it has been phenomenal. I love the kids and people, I just don’t want it to become routine. Everything else at Elevation is NOT NORMAL. 🙂 I don’t want Quest to become “normal” for me and I was getting a little unsettled in thinking it was heading that direction. I needed a change of pace and to experience something new to challenge me and see the vision of the church connect in another area. So, for the next few months I will be moving out of Quest and volunteering at the new Uptown campus at McGlohon. I THINK I’ll be volunteering with the community groups, but nothing is confirmed yet. I’m not the biggest fan of change, but I know I need it. If I hadn’t immediately talked to Erin (who has become a great friend and well, to be honest, something of a mentor and person I look up to) or Jessi after thinking about all of this, I know I would have changed my mind easily and just let things continue on their path. But… God is not a God that calls us to safety and comfort. He calls us to live an uncomfortable, risk filled life. So, I’m looking forward to the challenge, the change, and seeing what God will do.
So to all of you reading… Where are you going? How are you doing? Who are you doing this journey called life with? Are you seeking an abundant life? What do you want your legacy to be?
To paraphrase Pink Floyd, if life has become comfortably numb, you’re not living an abundant life.