Summer is finally here! Time to unwind, hit the beach, go on vacation or spend a lazy afternoon in a hammock, right?

Well maybe summer doesn’t feel quite as leisurely as you’d like.

You can’t afford to go on vacation, you have to fit in some extra classes or your kids keep you running from one activity to the next. The truth is that at the end of the summer we usually wonder where the time went, and there’s a feeling that this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

Chances are, even during the summer months, if you ask someone how they are, one of the first words that will come out of their mouth is “busy.” It’s become an automatic response. I find myself saying it almost unconsciously: “I’m doing great … just really busy, you know?” And inevitably the person I’m talking to does know because they feel the same way.

Are we actually as busy as we feel? The evidence is mixed. Overall Americans are working fewer hours than ever before and spending less time on chores and housework. But that increased leisure time hasn’t trickled down to everyone. Interestingly single parents and those with higher levels of education are working more than in the past.

We could speculate about whether we’re actually busier and the reasons we feel this way, but the answers to that question are probably slightly different for everyone. Some of us can’t help but be busy because we’re working two jobs to make ends meet. Others of us spend lots of time playing games on our phones yet wonder why we’re so busy.

Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that he came so that we “may have life, and have it abundantly.” I don’t know exactly what “abundant life” means, but I don’t think Jesus is talking about some time in the future. I believe he wants us to begin experiencing that abundant life today. Maybe even this summer.

I don’t presume to know what abundance looks like in your life. That’s something for you to discern in conversation with God and your community. Nor is this a sort of guilt trip. Maybe you’re already living in God’s abundance. And if not, maybe there isn’t a lot you can do about it right now.

But I do know this—Jesus intends for you to have an abundant life. God calls us to give of ourselves so that others can experience an abundance in their lives. And the spirit is at work, in a world too often governed by scarcity, bringing this abundance to life.

Brian A.F. Beckstrom
Beckstrom is campus pastor at Wartburg College, an ELCA college in Waverly, Iowa.

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