• Leah Burgess

To Live & Not Die


Do you know what it is to be alive? Do you know what it is to be alive and living? Finally, do you know what it is to be alive and living the abundant life through Christ Jesus? I certainly did not understand what that meant the first time I was baptized (age 5 at Triumph Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA). I did not understand what that meant in elementary school, middle school, and high school. Even though I went to Sunday School every week, participated in youth group, and attended church where my father served as the pastor. I had no idea what the purpose of life was/is as a young adult either. I did not know what ingredients were necessary to eat up the abundant life. The only things I thought of pertaining to life was the following:

  1. Get Married to my high school or college sweetheart.

  2. Go to college and get a good job

  3. Make lots of money (but had no concept of good stewardship other than tithing)

  4. Go on vacations

  5. Drive nice cars

  6. Eat the kind of food that I crave

  7. Chill with friends

I wanted to live life like a certain TV Black, affluent family in the late 80's, whose stage was Brooklyn, NY. I'm sure you know the family i'm referring to lol. My parents served as my first example and that TV family I mentioned were the confirmation I needed to show me that it was not abnormal for Black families to live and be well because many of the examples around me said the opposite. I desired companionship, money, and recreation. Jesus can and does give us those things, but the abundant life is so much more than companionship, money, and recreation.

The abundant life (in my own words) is the experience of being grateful and content because all needs are provided. It is walking obediently according to God's word, enjoying good health, nature, resting on Sabbath, using our talents and gifts for His glory and finally being a good steward over the resources (our mind, body, time, finances, homes, vehicles, jobs, education experience etc...) that the Lord has poured into our lives from heaven. It is about living on purpose and in God's purpose. Abundant life is recognizing that you lack nothing (James 1:2-4). Abundant life is being content with whatever you have (Philippians 4:12). Abundant life is sharing the resources God has given to you with others who need it. Abundant life is about living a simple life so others can just live, meaning we don't soak up all the resources for ourselves leaving others very little or none at all.

At 39 years old I can say that I am now living the abundant life. I am not wealthy. But i'm rich! I'm wiser and full of courage to live my faith in Christ out loud through my diet/meal planning, financial stewardship, using my gifts and talents to glorify God, and am in a season where I see the importance in being obedient to God even when it's weird or uncomfortable. I'm not boasting, just sharing my testimony. I have been sexually assaulted and the impact of that trauma in so many ways invited me to consider life as something that was not valuable. The impact of sexual violence caused me to think that because life was not valuable I did not have to do, think, eat, or socialize in peculiar ways. I did equate life with abundance, I had begun to think that life was just making it. Just surviving instead of living abundantly!

Today, as you consider your own life; I hope you consider what areas of your heart need surrender to God so that you can hear His invitation to the abundant life too.


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