Life to the Full

Life to the Full 

Article by Rick Dunn
I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Recently, within a matter of one week, I had the sacred privilege of celebrating the lives of two wonderful followers of Jesus. Juanita Winters, the wife of our former Pastor of Missions and Outreach, died in her mid-sixties after fighting cancer for years. Robert McClenagan, the father of our current Pastor of Adult Disciplemaking, died suddenly in his early seventies. Both deaths were premature, given their relative health and life expectancy. Yet, by any measure, both lived a “full life.”  

The deaths of these dear friends prompted significant periods of personal reflection. I am especially contemplating how, like my departed friends, I can live my remaining life “to the full.” Juanita and Robert came from very contrasting roots and lived very different lives. Yet, their lives were equally full and overflowing with eternal impact on the lives of others.

Recently on Life Reframed we discussed The Path to a Full Life, and I want to offer a few thoughts on three elements of life that contribute meaningfully to fullness. The reverse, of course, is implied. Without these elements, as life progresses, it trends in the direction of thinness and emptiness. Before sharing a few of these elements, I want to quote from my favorite book, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, the Horse.

“I’ve realized why we are here,” whispered the boy.
“For cake?” asked the mole.
“To love,” said the boy.
“And be loved,” said the horse.

This simple excerpt captures the essence of what Jesus had in mind as He spoke of Himself as “The Good Shepherd.”

As our Good Shepherd, He intends to bring fullness to our lives through the Presence of His love, in us and through us.

With these reflections in mind, I offer you three elements that I have found to significantly increase the likelihood of living life to the full with Jesus.

1. A Community Where You are Seen, Known, and Loved
The Northfield Way quotes, “Only the well-loved love well.” The deeper the well from which we draw the life-giving conversations and experiences of true community, the more fullness we will know in our lives with Jesus. So many people in a post-pandemic, technologically connected, relationally disconnected world live “alone in their lostness.” True community is both the antithesis to and the antidote for living “alone in our lostness.”

2. A Guide to Follow
Like pioneers in wagons traveling west in the late 19th century, we have little hope of finishing our journeys well unless we have a guide who has known this way before us. We require guidance to traverse the rivers and mountains we are to cross. We are also in desperate need of someone who can spot and guide us safely through danger.

3. The Daily Practices of Humility and Vulnerability
Our life journey is a redemptive journey. Fullness, in Jesus’ economy, is never about achieving and accumulating. Instead, fullness is gained through the transformative journey of accessing deeper and deeper places in the heart of the Father. The access “codes” for these places of deep grace, truth, and love are humility and vulnerability.

I long to end well as a husband, father, friend, pastor, leader, mentor, coach, and disciple-maker. I want to leave a legacy of hope. I’m discovering that these simple, faithful practices are the path to a life and legacy that is truly “full.”

Rick Dunn 

Lead Pastor
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