What not to carry
For many people, this is the time of year for vacations, a week at camp, or a trip to visit family. I don’t know how you prepare for a trip or vacation, but my first action is always to make a list of everything I need to pack. It’s the only way I feel confident I didn’t forget the contact solution or my running shoes.
Maybe you’re not a slightly obsessive list maker like me, but you undoubtedly take mental stock of what belongings you’re taking with you on any adventure. If it’s a trip across the country, you might be checking your bags twice to make sure you’ve brought everything you need. Or if you’re running to the grocery store, surely you think to yourself before walking out the door, “Do I have my keys? My wallet? My phone? What am I forgetting?”
No matter where we might be headed or how short a time we might be gone, we have a certain tendency to keep close tabs on what we’re bringing with us. But I often wonder, where is our inclination to think carefully about what we won’t carry with us?
For as many things as we might think we need to cram into a suitcase or purse, how many “things” do we consciously decide we don’t need? For example, sometimes I wonder what that trip to the grocery store might look like if everyone moving through the aisles had decided to leave behind anger or bitterness or discontent and instead they only carried compassion and kindness in their hearts.
How might any of our days be different if, as we got ready to leave, making sure we had our keys with us, we also intentionally resolved to remove arrogance or prejudice or self-centeredness from our personal possessions?
Maybe that’s what Jesus had in mind when he told his disciples to go into neighboring towns, sharing the good news, but taking nothing with them. As much as he was emphasizing not making a packing list for food and clothing, maybe Jesus was also encouraging them to make sure to leave behind their judgmental tendencies or pride.
On any given day, wherever you may be headed, you’ll surely remember to bring with you the most essential items. But as you head out the door, perhaps you’ll make a point to ask yourself, “What will I choose to leave behind today?”
–Katy Warren, associate pastor