Pastor Larson’s Corner: Abundant living

Pastor Larsons Corner

When I was in high school my aunt, who was a Lutheran deaconess, gave me a little devotional book called Abundant Living. I read one of the devotionals every night before bed and pretty much wore that little book out by the time I graduated. The book described and encouraged an abundant life that wasn’t based upon material things and possessions but rather upon things of the spirit. It said that true abundance in life could be found only in things such as love, hope, joy, faith, and peace. It described the kind of life I wanted, and it had a profound effect upon my choices during those years.

Our materialistic society has a tendency to hook people at a very early age into thinking that abundant living can be found in the world of things. Consequently many people go down the popular path of materialism only to find it wanting. Recently our local paper printed an interview with a person who experienced this very thing. His name was Mark Belton and he retired after 32 years at the age of 56 from the job of executive vice president of General Mills Inc. After retiring, Mark and his wife began supporting rural villages in the African country of Sierra Leon.

The interviewer asked him what motivated him to spend his life in this very philanthropic pursuit and he said, “I am motivated by expressing my Christian faith in relevant ways and in all facets of life. I love doing this kind of thing and I want to do more. It feeds my soul.” Mark Belton typifies the many people in our country who start out thinking that abundant living can be found chiefly in the material world. He learned, as so many others have, that true abundance can be found chiefly in a life of faith and living for others.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 21, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.