Growing up in a small Korean church in the burbs of Los Angeles in the late ‘80s, our children’s ministry didn’t have enough resources to host its own Vacation Bible School (VBS). For one week every summer our moms would drive us to a Baptist church in the neighboring city. Quite frankly, I don’t remember any of the sermons. I do remember playing games, making crafts, and Pastor Campbell.
Pastor Campbell was from the south. You could tell by his accent. He welcomed us children with a huge smile. Every morning he stood in front of us and said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10.” (KJV) If his goal was for us kids to memorize this verse, it worked. I’ve remembered this verse ever since.
For a long time I thought this verse meant that Jesus came to earth so that I could live an exciting life filled with lots of adventures, lots of stuff, and lots of happy moments for myself. Basically, I thought it meant God wanted me to live however I wanted. Now I know that this verse means so much more than having material wealth and earthly satisfaction. To know Jesus means to lay down the life I thought I was meant to live in exchange for a better one, one that is eternal and filled with peace, love, and joy.
In The Message Bible John 10:10 reads, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” I love this translation. Too many times I see people who call themselves Christians but live defeated lives. Jesus came not so that we could dwell on our hurts or compare ourselves with others or simply satisfy our earthly desires. He came so that we could walk daily with him and in those daily walks discover who we are truly meant to be.
I don’t know what happened to Pastor Campbell. I do know that he pastored that church for many years. I believe that if he used all of his energy to be a good shepherd of that church and point people to Christ he was living out his life to the fullest.