United Methodist Neighborhood Centers is a place of ABUNDANT LIFE: the energy and new awareness of children, the blessing of food and the growth it initiates, and the fellowship and renewal of changes being made to people’s lives. Our work in communities with profound needs should never be confused with a lack of grace or love in that community. ABUNDANT LIFE is often confused with comfort, security, financial resources and a sense of assurance that tomorrow’s needs will be provided. In truth GOD’s ABUNDANT LIFE is richer than economics, it is more than good health, abundance goes beyond comfort to something more profound like peace in the Holy Spirit.
The mid-20th century Methodist Christian missionary and theologian, E. Stanley Jones, wrote in 1947, a 52 week daily devotional titled Abundant Living. On day one, he begins with the sentence, “Life can never be abundant unless it has abundant resources.” Does he mean abundant wealth? Or maybe abundant time? What resources must be abundant to have ABUNDANT LIFE?
Jesus fed the 5,000 with his fish and bread, so I suppose, food could be thought of as a resource for ABUNDANT LIFE. You see Jesus had food so HE shared it with those who did not. Sharing not only HIS material resources but also HIS faith with his words while they ate together, HE shared his Spiritual resources. Is this an example of the abundant resources that lead to ABUNDANT LIFE?
ABUNDANT LIFE is an unexpected by-product of the bounty created by the sharing of faith and love through Christ of “organisms” and “organizations” working in God’s creation to bring God’s kingdom near.
Abundance comes when resources are shared and multiplied with the power of faith and grace, and the confidence that sharing, sometimes, scarce resources in the present will offer blessing in the future.
As you read this month about our shared mission and the ministries, keep in mind where you find ABUNDANT LIFE and be prayerful and intentional in the way God may lead you to be a part of the “Blessed Community of Abundant Life” we are all called to nurture and grow.
Peace and Grace,
Rev. Brent Porterfield
Executive Director, UMNC