Matthew 28:1-10John 10:7-15
"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).
Every single one of us has a deep desire to know how to live life to the fullest.
That's a pretty strong statement, isn't it? I'm schooled to avoid making 100 percent statements. One can usually find an exception. A bit more caution is in order.
But on this one, I'll stand my ground. I'm convinced that every one of us shares that deep desire to know how to live life to the very fullest. Some of us are a long way from this reality. Others are closer to it.
Look inside yourself. Isn't there a deep, inner aspiration that life is more than being successful? Having money? Owning a nice home? Raising happy children? Being physically well? Having a lot of friends? Being married? Or being unmarried?
That's why you are here today. Whether you are a professing believer in Jesus Christ or simply a person open to truth wherever it is to be found--you dream of something that goes beyond all of this.
It is your dream of being fully human. I'm not here to convince you that you should give up a lot of what you have and value most, to live a negative, legalistic, unhappy, joyless but religious life. No! Far from this, I am inviting you to affirm the greatest adventure you'll ever have. It's the adventure of being fully human -- to live in touch with your deepest aspirations.
If you have not already begun this pilgrimage in living life to the fullest, I'm inviting you to begin. If you are already on this journey, I invite you to celebrate the fact that you are in the process of becoming the person God created you to be. Take joy in this aspiration. It's not yours by accident. It's planted within you by the very God of the universe.
One of the greatest preachers in history was Phillip Brooks, who for many years in the late 1800's was the rector of Trinity Church in Boston. In his classic sermon titled "The Christ in Whom Christians Believe," Brooks makes this insightful comment:
"When we remember that truth, when we recognize that no man is ever to be saved except by the fulfillment of his own nature, and not by the restraint of his nature, when we recognize that no man, no personal, individual man, is ever to be ransomed from his sins except by having opened to him a larger and fuller life into which he has entered, we seem to have displayed to us a large region, into which we are tempted to enter, and which is so rich and inviting to us that we immediately begin to ask ourselves if it is possible that there should be such a region."
Brooks went on to raise the possibility that perhaps this aspiration is a dream. If it is a dream, isn't it amazing that every single person who has walked the face of this earth has had this dream of living life to the fullest that goes beyond contemporary success standards?