When you were a kid did you ever run away? I don’t mean the scary, teenager running away from home kind of running away. I mean the “I’m 6 years old and you can’t make me eat my vegetables”, tie a bandana around a stick and walk to the neighbor’s house kind of running away. Earlier this week I was thinking about the whole bandana on a stick concept. In all of the hobo cartoons that contraption does fine at holding all of one’s earthly belongings, but in the real world I’m not sure if it would hold more than a toothbrush and a change of underwear.
Sometimes I feel a little bit like the cartoon hobo. About a year ago, my husband and I decided to downsize. We had been living in a house with 3 bedrooms, a 2 car garage, attic, and big bonus room. We were empty nesters and in our mind we really didn’t need all that room so we went smaller-much, much smaller. We got rid of as much as we possibly could, the dumpster divers in our neighborhood had a field day. We stored a whole bunch of stuff and we moved a very limited amount of stuff into our new, little apartment.
At first it was great. We had only what we needed. There was less to worry about and I could clean the whole place in a couple of hours. Life felt simpler. We had more time to do things together. There was less clutter and less waste. But then we realized there was something that we really needed so we got it. Then we realized that there was something else that we really needed and we got it as well. This trend continued and slowly our new little place began to feel smaller and smaller, more and more cluttered. Our nest didn’t feel all that empty anymore and it became frustrating. Now it’s beginning to feel kind of crowded and cluttered. Once again the stress of stuff is closing in.
Jesus knows and understands the danger of stuff-stress. He knows the distraction from doing his work that our stuff can be. In Luke 9 he is sending out his disciples to “tell everyone about the kingdom of God and heal the sick.” (v. 2). In verse 3 he gives them very specific instructions: “take nothing for your journey, Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.” Seriously Jesus? No money, food or even a change of clothes? If you are a planner/ control freak like I am this statement probably makes you a little nervous, or maybe it totally freaks you out because you would ever go on any kind of a trip without knowing for certain where all of the provisions were coming from. Would Jesus really require us to live without having what we need?
Don’t get me wrong. Jesus does not call us to live in lack. Quite the contrary, just a few verses after Jesus commands his disciples to travel with no provisions, he feeds five thousand plus with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus turns lack into more-than-enough. We don’t need to hold on white knuckled to our own stuff because he will be our provider.
Please don’t think I believe we are all called to sell everything we have and live out of a bandana on a stick. He obviously calls some to live this way: he required it of his disciples. But, I DO believe that he asks us all to travel light and hold on loosely because he knows that with stuff comes responsibility, worry, comparison with others, worry, idolatry, worry. Our things become our gods. Our things consume our time. Our things define who we are. They absolutely get in the way of following him. When we can relinquish our things to his care we are free to follow him, he will define who we are and we will fully understand exactly who our source is.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously and he will give you everything you need.” -Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
Debbie Dartt Ministries © 2016
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