Friday, January 16, 2015

Traveling Light? ................. Parables 223

(June 27, 1990)

The date is circled on the calendar; ready or not, the movers are coming to take some of our household goods. The problem is that word some.

What stays? What goes? Do I need this casserole dish? Will I need that pair of shoes? And what will it be like for the packers as I stand there saying, “No, not that, pack this, no, just a minute, leave it and pack that...” Twenty-four previous moves didn’t prepare me for the decisions of this one.

It is easier to just pack all of it, but we can’t. We have to travel light. All of our stuff won’t fit in our condo in Saskatchewan. Besides, our son needs some of it: dishes, bedding, and a can opener, at least. This is the only time being a pack rat has paid off; we have at least two of almost everything! However, the decisions make my head ache. The other day I caught myself hoping for the Second Coming before the end of June. That way I wouldn’t have to pack anything, at least I hope I don’t try to.

I realize a crisis situation can bring out unusual characteristics in people. A friend whose house was threatened by a next-door fire was horrified when the only thing she thought to grab on her way out was her sugar bowl off the middle of the kitchen table, containing a few stray coins collected every laundry day. Later, she wondered about her value system!

The Second Coming may also clarify our priorities. When Jesus talked about the signs of His return, He told His audience, “Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house, neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” He must have looked ahead to the day when time ticks its last and seen some people frantically stuffing their treasures in a United Van Lines carton as they looked at the evening news and realized The End truly had arrived.  Though they must have heard “you can’t take it with you,” they were trying.

Along with this curious admonition to forget about possessions at a time when it seems no one should think of them, Jesus also said “whoever seeks to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” He obviously knew the human quirk I fight every time I move... I do want to take it all with me; every book, every knickknack.

In a crisis, or even in ordinary days, abandoning ourselves, without luggage, into His care is never easy. Possessions can be a comfort. Perhaps learning to rely more on Him and less on things has been the lesson of our nomadic lifestyle. According to Jesus, it is a lesson for all His children.

The Apostle Paul even had to learn to leave his luggage, but not just possessions -- prestige and achievements too. In fact, when Paul allowed God to do his packing -- and he left behind almost all his material possessions PLUS the esteem of his heritage, education, position and reputation. With that gone, he was still able to say: “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ.”

Paul also encouraged others to take “joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.”

I’m just moving to Moose Jaw. Sorting necessary items from not-so-necessary has to be done. One day, it will be a longer move -- and far easier, without any decisions to make, books to pack, or boxes to sort. Not only that, I can leave behind the baggage of my old, dead, sin nature -- it won’t bother me ever again.

Now that is traveling light!

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