I don't use the word abound too often in conversation. Pretty much never, actually. But it's a great word, packed with meaning. And do I ever need to be reminded of that sometimes. Like when I get mad at my kids or my wife, and then I let it linger, feeling justified in my selfish, unloving withdrawal from them until I decide to resolve it.
At times like that, the word abound jumps off the page as I read of Paul praying that the Lord would make the saints of Thessalonica "increase and abound in love for one another and for all" (1 Thessalonians 3:12). That's a lotta love. I looked up the word "abound" and it means "to be present in great quantity... to be copiously supplied." Copious means "taking place on a large scale."
We're talking God's scale here. It's clear from Paul's prayer that it's only God who can supply us with such abundant love. God pours it out using gigantic heavenly portions so that we can overflow excessively with love for those around us. The Greek word here suggests a superabundance that is exceedingly beyond measure. Picture the violent overflow of Niagara. You can't miss it as you get close to it, from the roar you hear to the mist in the air to the sight you behold. That's a picture of a place abounding in water. In the same way, God wants to cause us to abound in love for others.
Does my life reflect a superabundance of love for others? Am I abounding in love for my wife and children, let alone others around me? Not really. I've got some love for others. I'm somewhat loving. What a contrast to the superabundant, exceedingly excessive overflow of love beyond measure! Those are the kind of words I want at the front of my mind every time I face an opportunity to express God's love to someone around me: superabundant, exceedingly excessive love, overflowing beyond measure!
And I'm so grateful that it's God who is not only able to make His love increase in me, but is eager to do it at any given moment! I simply pray that I'll be open to receiving it and sharing it until His superabundant love is superobvious to everyone around me.
© 2010 by Ken Peters
Revised version posted May 9, 2020