Travelling Light

Why is it, I wonder, that when he said, “Only one thing is needed” I feel the need to add so many more?

Why was it that Martha was busy busy busy when the one who had the words of eternal life was speaking and planting seeds of hope and truth and joy and peace and refreshment and deep wisdom?

And she was too preoccupied to listen.

“Simplify, simplify”, said Thoreau.

When he sent out the disciples Jesus told them to travel light.

“Don’t take any money with you, no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.”

A bit like Mother Teresa who, having flown long distance, when asked if she was going to collect her suitcases from the carousel said, “No. I carry around all my worldly possessions with me in this little bag. My personal needs are very simple”.

And the words Jesus asked his friends to share were super simple:
“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”

Humanly impossible, sure. But not complicated.

Jesus’s words were paraphrased by St. Francis as something like, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”

Using the picture of an athlete, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews said, “Let us strip off everything that hinders us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith”.
No runner will carry an ounce of excess weight. Why would they?

Which hiker wants a kitchen sink in their rucksack? Some Kendal mint cake, maybe, but no luxuries.

So, what might count as excess baggage?
Sin, for sure.

Distractions? Like Martha, over busy and preoccupied. Unlike Mary, taking a golden opportunity to listen to Jesus. Sometimes the good is enemy of the best.

Too many possessions? Maybe we need a few more than Mother Teresa, but you get my point.
Over commitment? Do we need to learn to say, “No”?

Clinging to status? Ego? Pointing to Jesus, John the Baptist said, “He must increase and I must decrease”.

Over concern for our needs? But if we seek God’s kingdom and righteousness, then surely we’ll be given enough bread for each day?

Over consumption? A fast from evil - always. From all good things given to us to enjoy - regularly.

And whatever other excess baggage might weigh us down.

Richard Foster wrote that the enemy wants to keep us engaged with ‘muchness and manyness’.

Maybe we’re called to be Christian minimalists?
Routine pruning is the Father’s way of encouraging growth.
Less making room for more.
It can be painful.
But it will be fruitful.

Angus Lyon