In a world marked by excess and materialism, it is my firm belief that Christians settle for far less than God wants them to have. We spend our lives chasing what we think will make us happy, but never seem to ever achieve the peace we hope for.  And when we tire of chasing what the world says will make us happier, healthier, smarter, wealthier, and more “acceptable”, we end up settling for less than what we wanted, less than delight.

In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Abundance is defined as excessive, more than is necessary. The world tries to fill our desire for “more” with things that will disappear and disappoint. There is usually an abundant amount of food on the Thanksgiving or Christmas table, but we end up hungry for the next meal. Most of us own far more clothes than we need, yet still lament our wardrobe options. We now live in bigger houses with more luxury than we grew up with, but still seek bigger, better, newer, improved versions of everything. Our entertainment continually tries to be bigger, flashier, and have more realistic special effects than the last one. The thrill or pleasure we receive from what the world offers is undeniable, but short lived. We will never be permanently satisfied by filling ourselves with what the world offers. Gratitude for what the world gives us is quickly replaced by envy for what we don’t have or dissatisfaction that what we have is not enough.  

When God created the world, he could have done it in black in white with only what is necessary to sustain us, but he didn’t. He created a world that would delight you. Flowers could just as easily all bloom in the same color, all animals could be brown and have the same personality. No real need for taste or smell; everything could taste and smell just the same. But it doesn’t. God created different environments and periodic surprises to thrill us. There is no real need for a sunset or a thunderstorm. God created variety in color and texture and shape that isn’t necessary. God has gifted us with so many unnecessary things, just for our pleasure, to give our lives excitement and delight and variety and surprise.  Think of walking outside and suddenly smelling dirt that’s just been rained on or grass that’s just been cut. A storm coming.  Coffee brewing in the morning or bread baking. You don’t have to taste to take in nutrition, but God wanted to delight you there as well. Nobody would mistake the taste of a fresh strawberry for broccoli, no comparison between oranges and almonds. No real purpose in any of that; it’s just the extra that God throws in to delight us. God doesn’t want you to just not be hungry; he gave us variety and delight in what he feeds us with. God doesn’t want life to just exist; he wants it to be abundant, and he sent his son to us with that job description – that we might have life “more abundantly”. 

What we seek usually determines what we find. May we choose to be aware of and grateful for the abundance God has given us and refuse to settle for anything less.