As Deborah and I prepared for our trip to Israel in 2017, we packed light. We were told to take only one suitcase for the two of us filled with things that were not vital. Put a change of clothes, toiletries, cameras, and things we considered vital into a backpack to be carried on-board the flight. If the suitcase was lost, we could survive for a couple of days while the airline tracked it down.
Understand that this was an eleven-day trip! So, traveling light was not easy. But we managed to do it.
In Mark 6, Jesus finally gives the Twelve an assignment. Up to this point, they’ve only been asked to watch, listen, and learn. But now, Jesus commissions them to preach, heal, and cast out demons—the same things they’ve seen Him do.
Jesus instructs them to travel light. Here’s the packing list: a walking stick, the sandals on their feet, and the clothes on their back. That’s it.
The list of things NOT to pack is a little longer. No bread, no bag, no money, and no extra coat. And once they find accommodations, if they’re not to their liking, too bad. DO NOT look for a more comfortable place to stay.
It reminds me of a story Stan Reid tells of a missionary who was going church-to-church asking for funds for a mission trip. The missionary had a very professional, pre-printed, slick presentation that he passed out to all the elders at the various churches. It contained a detailed list of known expenses and possible expenses totaling well over $100,000.
This raised the eyebrows of one elder who was well up in years and full of wisdom. “Young man, may I ask you a question?”
“Of course,” the missionary replied. “Ask me anything. I want to be perfectly transparent.”
“Here’s my question,” said the elder, “At what point are you planning to trust God?”
The missionary forgot the importance of traveling light.
The most important thing the Twelve must take with them on this mission trip is not something that fits in a suitcase. No, it’s something they must carry in their heart. It’s faith. Pack your faith. Trust God… for everything.
Sunday morning, I will be wheeling some of my baggage to the pulpit. I carry it with me everywhere I go—even to church. I may show you some of it. You know, my agendas, my priorities, my values, my great ideas. I may show you my resentment, my disappointment, even my anger. I won’t be showing you my shame, my guilt, and my sin. But it’ll be in the bag. The bag will be heavy. And again, it’s a burden I take with me everywhere.
Here’s the point: if I am really going to be a disciple of Jesus, I must lighten the load. I need to get rid of some stuff—maybe ALL my stuff. Jesus demanded that very thing of someone who wanted to follow Him. “Yes, you can follow me! Welcome! But we travel light. So first, go sell ALL your stuff and give the money to the poor.”
And the man couldn’t do it. He had a tight grip on his stuff. Or to put it better, his stuff had a gorilla grip … on him.
To walk as Jesus walked, travel light. But don't forget to pack your faith.
“Take nothing for your journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belt—but wear sandals and do not put on two tunics. Whenever you enter a house, stay there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them” (Mark 6:8-11, paraphrased).