Traveling Light

Mac finished up the Series called “Baggage Claim” at church this past Sunday.  The sermon was on “Traveling Light” emotionally and spiritually.  (I, of course, like to physically travel light as well).  It was a good reminder that we really need to let things go in order to live our lives to the fullest.  If we don’t, we are weighted down with all the “junk” we are carrying around.

He gave us four steps to “Traveling Light”:

1.  Eliminate all unnecessary weight.  (Forgiveness)  Forgiving those that have hurt or wounded us.  Letting go of the hurt.  When we do not forgive others it hurts us more than anyone else.

2.  Carry our own bags.  (Personal Responsibility)  Taking responsibility for our own actions and NOT blaming others.  Learn from your mistakes and move forward, but do not get stuck in blaming others for all that has happened in your life.  This is YOUR life.  Blaming others gets you nowhere emotionally and definitely not spiritually.  God knows the truth and He is just waiting for you to take ownership of your own actions.

3.  Help someone with their baggage.  (Comfort)  Use your past and your “baggage” to help someone else in a similar situation.  Let go of your baggage so you can help someone else carry theirs.  God allows us to go through things so that we can help others in the same situations.  Use your past mistakes for good in someone else’s life.

4. Choose your traveling companions very wisely.  (Community)  Be careful who you do life with.  Always be there to help those in need, but be cautious of those that  you consider your closest friends.  You want those that are closest to you to be on the same page as you are, to have the same values and priorities.  You want those people to lift you up and help you to grow, not weight you down. 

“Above all else, guard your heart,  for it is the wellspring of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

God never intended for us to carry our burdens around.  He knows we’ll have hard times and sadness, but He is here to help us anytime we need Him.  He wants us to go through our feelings, take them to Him and then let go and keep going.  Keep pressing on and moving forward.   Drop the heavy burdens and carry God’s love and grace with you daily.   Allow Him to work in your heart and to work through you in helping others.  Let go of the junk (physically, emotionally and spiritually).  Do not let anything weigh you down in life so that you have the energy, the time and the space to serve others and further God’s Kingdom.  Allow God to use your “baggage” for good and travel light.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Plastic Pearls

We had a guest speaker yesterday at church.  His name was Joe White and he and his wife, Debbie Jo, own the Kanakuk Kamps in Missouri.   They have 9 different Christian sport Kamps for kids, mainly high school age.   He told us about some of the kids he works with and how so many of their lives have been transformed through Christ.  He even shared his own story, and how he is facing cancer right now, but he trusts God with everything he has.  He is an incredibly inspirational person.

He told a story about a little girl who really wanted some pearls.  So she decided she would make her own pearl necklace with some plastic pearls.  She bought some plastic pearls and some string, and she strung them into a pretty necklace that she wore everyday.  She loved this necklace so much. 

On her birthday, her father came into her room and said “Do you trust me?”  She said “Yes, of course I do”, then he said…then give me that pearl necklace.  She said “Daddy!  Why do you want my necklace?  I can’t give it to you”.  So the next year on her birthday, he did the same thing.  Figuring she was a year older and may respond differently.  He came into her room and asked her again…”Do you trust me?”  “Yes, Dad, of course” she said.  So he proceeded to ask her again for the necklace.  She asked him why he was doing this to her, that was her favorite necklace and she couldn’t give it up.  She held onto it and was very upset that he would ask for it again. 

The next year, hoping she would now trust him, he did the same thing on her birthday.  He asked once again if she trusted him, she said yes.  Then he asked again for her to give up the pearls to him.  She finally decided to do it, she said…”Dad, I do trust you, and I guess if you need me to give these to you, then I will trust you and do it”.  See the father had gotten a second job a few years ago and saved up enough money to buy her a pair of real cultured pearls.  He was saving them for when she would trust him enough to give him the plastic pearls.

Once she handed over those plastic pearls, her dad reached into his pocket and handed her the real cultured pearls. 

What an incredible analogy, don’t you think?  As he told us this story, he asked us to get out the pearls we were given when we walked in the door.  (They had handed each of us a plastic pearl as we were walking in).  He told us that just like this little girl, we all hold onto something artificial. Something we can’t let go of, that we THINK brings us happiness.  But if we turn it over to God, he will bring us true joy….like we have never known. It will be the REAL thing. 

Joe asked each of us to stop and think about what our “plastic pearl” is, what it is we are holding so tightly to, and can’t let go of.  What is it that we think gives us happiness, but it’s not the real thing.  What do we need to hand over to God?  Then he asked us to come up to the stage, and throw our pearl onto the stage, to signify that we are letting go of our “plastic pearls”, and handing them over to God on the altar. 

It was one of the most powerful messages I’ve ever heard.