Notice, Jesus didn’t say that he came in order that people would have things in abundance; he came so that we would have “life” abundantly. Materialism only leads us away from God and one another. It is a lonely life, an isolated life. Jesus warns us about those thieves and robbers who would steal our life away. They call out with voices of materialism and consumption, convincing us that we are lacking for luxuries we deserve, lest we lag behind our neighbor.
Too often we see this even in our churches. Congregations focused on “things” in abundance have little life. Congregations focused on earthly treasures spend a lot of time building and filling barns, leaving little time for fellowship and ministry within the community. Jesus’ teaching helps us understand all of this.
The Good Shepherd text is sandwiched in between Jesus restoring eyesight to the blind and the raising of Lazarus. God wants us to “see” correctly what abundant life is. It is seeing Jesus for who he is, realizing him as the Good Shepherd who lays his life down for the sake of the sheep. Through him only is there forgiveness, mercy and abundant life in God’s kingdom forever.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, we give you thanks and praise, for only through you may we be forgiven and receive life everlasting. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by David Nuottila, Pastor of Union Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC.