“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
When I began writing these weekly missives eight years ago my inspiration then – as it continues to be now – is based on this verse about abundant life. What constitutes an abundant life and how must one live in order to attain it? That has been my central theme from the beginning. What I have discovered as I’ve wrestled with this issue in my own writings is there is no clear way to describe exactly what abundant life is. It is not something for which there is a particular formula, even though there are certain necessary ingredients as mentioned in the following paragraph. But abundant life is not easily defined or described, only experienced, and the only way I know to help others understand what that might be like for them is by relating stories about others who seem to have attained it. I must also emphasize that economic and social status are irrelevant towards one’s living an abundant life. It is so much deeper and richer than any of that.
As for the ingredients I love the way William J. Bennett organized the wonderful collection of great classic moral stories he compiled in his bestselling book several years ago called The Book of Virtues. Bennett categorized them this way: self-discipline, compassion, responsibility, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty, and faith. While each of us may need to find our own formula, I do believe if it includes these basic ingredients we’ll be on your way to having life, and having it abundantly.
I would like to share one other insight I have discovered these past eight years, again through my own writings and your responses, and that is the importance of wisdom. Wisdom, I’ve come to believe, is the force – the inspiration – for living a virtuous life, thus an abundant life. Without it we are simply “chasing after the wind” as the writer of Ecclesiastes describes. But why do we not talk more than we do about wisdom in leadership and life? What exactly is wisdom anyway, and how do we gain it? The Psalmist states it this way, that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). . . . . So I plant that seed and leave it with you to ponder as we close out 2012, but expect more on the subject in 2013. In the meantime God’s blessings, have a wonderful Christmas and a safe, healthy new year.