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The Abundant Life

by P. Reily

"Suffer me not O Lord to waste this day in sin or folly. But let me worship thee with much delight. Teach me to know more of thee and to serve thee better than ever I have done before, that I may be fitter to dwell in heaven, where thy worship and service are everlasting. Amen."

This prayer was one of many offered to God by Alexander Smith while he lived on Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific. Smith was one of nine Englishmen and eighteen Tahitian men and women who settled the uninhabited island in 1789. Everything went well in the beginning, but within four years trouble amongst themselves had escalated to the point that all the Tahitian men and all but four of the Englishmen were dead. One of the Englishmen learned how to distill liquor from the roots of the ti plant, and eventually the remaining men were drunk almost all the time. Afraid for their lives, the women and children fled to another part of the island and built a fort for protection. One day while rummaging through his wrecked ship for more liquor, Smith came across a Bible. He was illiterate but learned to read from the Bible with the help of the only other living Englishmen. Smith's teacher died in 1801, but Smith continued reading the Bible and also began to teach it's principles to the Tahitian women and children on the island. In 1808, when a ship discovered the island, the crew was surprised to find thirty-five English speaking people of Polynesian blood practicing Christianity. One sailor penned of the inhabitants, "It was with great gratification that we observed the Christian simplicity of the natives. They appeared to have no guile. Their cottages were open to all and all were welcome to their food." To this day the island courthouse has never hosted a trial and Pitcairn's three jail cells contain only life-jackets.

Jesus told his disciples as recorded in John 10, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10 NKJV). Too often, Christians fail to realize that, even though our true home is in heaven and we are but pilgrims and sojourners here on earth, the Christian life is the best life a person can live. It is a life of peace, contentment, and blessing. It is a life of giving, not taking; of helping, not hurting; of loving, not hating. Think for a moment: if every human being were a faithful Christian, there would be no wars, no crime, and no greed. The prophet Isaiah foretold of Christianity, "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD'S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:2-4 NKJV). The Christian life is the abundant life but we must live it to enjoy its blessings.

In case you are wondering who Alexander Smith was, he was one of the group who followed Fletcher Christian and mutinied against the captain of the HMS Bounty. The teaching contained in the gospel of Jesus Christ changed his life and the lives of those around him. It can change yours too.



"...upon this rock I will build My church..." Matt.16:18


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