He [Jesus] said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money–not even an extra tunic.” Luke 9:3 (NRSV)
I hear Jesus’ instruction to the Twelve Disciples not to take any provisions with them when they are sent on a journey to extend Jesus’ ministry of healing. Really? Who takes a trip without packing the things that will be needed on the trip? Certainly not me. I am not one for packing light. I pack everything I think I will need . . . and more.
Yet, Jesus tells the Disciples not to take anything for their journey, except essentially the cloths on their backs. The Disciples had already left behind plenty to follow Jesus. Peter, James, and John left behind a fishing business. Matthew walked away from a lucrative tax collection business. All of them left behind family and the way of life they had known and had become accustomed to.
Consider others in the Bible. Just about everyone who encountered Jesus and decided to follow Jesus ended up leaving behind something. When Bartimaeus regained his sight, he threw off his raggedy coat and followed Jesus. Even though the woman at the well had come for water, she left her water jug to run into town to tell people she had met the One who offered her “living water.”
Travelling with unnecessary baggage hurts us and comes with a price. I have learned to travel light and now avoid the “excess” baggage fees and back aches. Why travel through life with the baggage of attitudes, thoughts and behavior that weigh us down and cost us a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and with others?
It is in our leaving behind the baggage of spiritually unhealthy thoughts, attitudes, and behavior that frees us to trust and depend upon God, to accept Jesus’ invitation to follow, and to live in the center of God’s will. What is getting in your way, blocking the path to God’s envisioned life for you?
The invitation of Lent is to consider anything and everything that is weighing you down and costing you the deeper relationship God wants with you . . . and then leaving it behind.