Spiritual Stoke - The Abundant Life
I grew up forty-five minutes from the ocean. Most of my summers were spent going to the beach. I would hitch rides with my family, our church youth group, or my friends. One afternoon, after my freshman year of college, my friend and I drove to our favorite beach outside San Diego.
As usual, we stopped at the Solana Beach Donut House and ate a ridiculous amount of sugar, drank a healthy Mountain Dew, and rushed out to surf. At this point in surfing, I was still bodysurfing and bodyboarding. Before I had time to change into my wetsuit, my friend Jim locked my bodyboard in his truck and gave me his extra surfboard. Jim looked at me and said in no uncertain terms, “Too bad, Shane. Today you are going to stand up.”
I am forever indebted to Jim.
A short time later, I nervously sat outside of the breaking surf. A smaller wave approached. I paddled, felt the wave underneath me, and jumped to my feet. Though I probably looked like a kook I felt like I was the best surfer in the world.
Dropping in that wave was like nothing I had ever experienced. I was hooked. After several hours of surfing (for me, it was mostly paddling), the sun dipped below the horizon. As I rode my last wave I felt a strong sense of joy, exhilaration, and contentment. You may have heard the quote: “Only a surfer knows the feeling.”
That feeling is what a surfer refers to as stoke.
Ask a surfer what stoke means and you will receive various answers: happiness, fulfillment, joy, excitement, fun. In John 10:10, Jesus Christ speaks of what I like to refer to as spiritual stoke. He says, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” In other translations, the word abundant is used to express what Jesus wants to give his children.
I love that. Jesus Christ came to the world to give people – to give you - a rich, abundant, and satisfying life. To be spiritually stoked is to experience the abundance, the richness, and the satisfaction God desires for you. This stoke, whether you consider yourself a surfer or not, is what God wants for you!
I look forward to spending some time together these next few days looking at how we can live a life of spiritual stoke!