Coming back from a speaking engagement, I sat next to a lady who was traveling to meet her family. The people who had sponsored my meeting were gracious enough to fly me First Class, and the agent had upgraded this lady to First Class. It was her first time. She was in her late 70s, had never flown First Class, and was therefore unfamiliar with the amenities that come with a First Class seat. It reminded me of the story I had heard about a man who scrimped and saved to purchase a ticket on an ocean-liner from Europe to the U.S. After about three days, he had exhausted his meager packed lunch, and for the next two days of the five-day voyage he went hungry. Finally, he could take it no longer, and as he saw the sumptuous banquet, he walked by one of the tables groaning with hunger and stuffed a couple of rolls into his pocket. When the dining steward approached to assist, he thought he had been "caught." He confessed in tears that he was just hungry and had been without food for two days. He apologized for taking the bread and was willing to take his punishment. Can you imagine his shock and chagrin when the steward informed him that his ticket price included all the food and drink he wanted?!
How many of us live our lives like that?
We go through life wondering why we seem to be scrimping and struggling while other people sit at tables loaded with all of the good things in life. We see people with "ministries" that seem to be "much blessed of God," while we struggle daily to find a meager blessing of sorts. The real tragedy is that God provided "all things that pertain unto life and Godliness through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue." As the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians, "you come behind in no gift." In other words, there is no gift lacking in the spiritual life imparted to you by the Holy Spirit. Like the lady on the plane and the man on the ship, it is ignorance that prevents us from enjoying not only the fundamentals, but the "amenities" of our salvation. I deliberately use the word amenities because it connotes that which could be considered "other than a necessity." Unfortunately, many people see the Christian life as "grab and root and growl" and not the "joy unspeakable" it was destined to be.
After I told the lady that she could have extra peanuts, extra chocolate chip cookies, and all the coffee she desired, you can believe she took full advantage of the amenities available to her. I also feel confident that the shipboard passenger, after learning what was his, arrived at his destination fully fed with his thirst quenched.
Let me ask you, are you merely going through the "process of living," or experiencing ".. life more abundantly," as the promise is? The Lord Jesus said, "I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." The concept is directly contrasted with the devils job description. "The thief cometh not but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy." In other words, most people are living their lives in exact contrast to what the Lord Jesus bought and in complete harmony with what the devil offers. Not because they are servants of Satan, but rather, as Scripture says, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge." The really interesting part is the word "destroy." As it is used regarding the enemy and regarding Gods people, the connotation here is not annihilation, but rather a "rendering without power." Said another way, "My people are rendered without power due to a lack of knowledge." It was never Gods intent for His people to be servants of anyone but Himself. From Pharaoh to the future, God intended that His people would be free, and the ultimate liberty is thusly stated "whom the Son sets free is free indeed!"