Abundant Life or Comfortable Life?

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.- John 10:10

In my last post I mentioned a family we recently visited. This is the family of Maicon whom the team met in the streets. Maicon was incarcerated briefly in the juvenile detention center which gave him time to reconsider his life choices. Upon his release, Maicon returned to his house in the slums, a tiny shack for family of six with no running water or electricity. There was no bathroom.  Our team members visited Maicon and sensed that he was not going to last long at home. Within a few weeks, Maicon ran away from home and started getting involved with the local drug dealers. To make matters worse, some of the neighbors of Maicon’s family were trying to drive out his family so that they could occupy their space. His father’s life was threatened and he decided to move to another place. The father is hardworking man but he was disabled due to illness. He sold soft drinks in the streets to make ends meet but he did not make enough to rent a place. He sought the local social agencies for assistance. Unfortunately, this family did not meet the qualifications for the social programs for the present moment. The situation was becoming desperate when the drug lords in the neighborhood offered the father a place to squat in an old abandoned house. The father is an honest man and agreed to accept the offer out of desperation but only on the condition that he was not going to be involved in any shape or form with the drug operations. Most drug dealers have a “Robin Hood” complex here and they gave him their word that they would not expect anything in return. In reality, they don’t have to expect anything in return because three of their older children are already involved in the drug culture.

We visited this family in their new home just before Christmas. It was abandoned house that was dark and musty but it had two bedrooms and a bathroom. There was electricity but no running water. However, they could get water easily next door. Unfortunately, the house next to them is where the drug dealers do their business. The remaining children in this family are from ages 7 to 10. The 10 year old is girl. This house is terrible but it was a step up for them. They had privacy. They had a bathroom.

Mary with the Family

Mary with the Family

Abundant life is something greater than possessions. This family in a certain sense might be better off than some wealthy people. They know that they do not have abundant life yet. Many of us are blinded by false securities and hope but we think that we have it all. Most of the crack addicts think that they found everything they want in crack cocaine. Crack cocaine is their escape from reality. For others, materialism and other more accepted drugs are a way of escape.

I realized that our understanding of salvation is incomplete. Salvation cannot mean one thing for me and another things for someone else. This family has something to teach us about the meaning of salvation. They are able to face the harsh reality of life without giving up hope. They have hope. They see their hope materialized in things that we take for granted. We have something to teach them as well. We are both on the quest to discover the meaning of abundant life. I believe that God has brought us together so that we discover its meaning together.