Thursday, March 29, 2018

Pack Lightly - Martin Wiles

Then Jesus said, "Come to me who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 NLT
I thought I had enough, but it was more than needed.
Our possessions were spread over the living room floor. The things my daughter and I would need for the next five days: sleeping bags, flashlights, food, clothes, cooking equipment, tent, batteries, matches, toiletries. We were heading out on a five-day backpacking trip on the Foothills Trail.
Although we were somewhat novices when it came to hiking and backpacking, we had been doing it long enough that I thought we could handle five days without any trouble. I was wrong. After carefully placing all the items from the floor into our packs, I weighed each one. My pack weighed in at fifty pounds and my daughters at thirty five. Much too heavy, but there were no re-stocking places along the way, so we’d have to carry everything we would need.
One day on the trail and I knew we were carrying too much. Our backs ached, and my new boots had given me a blister I’d have to nurture the remaining way. Uphills were miserable, downhills a relief. When we reached our camping destination each day around two o’clock, we were exhausted. But we had no options. What we had, we needed. Yet, I came to understand the need to pack lightly.
Jesus called those who were weary and carried heavy burdens to come to Him for rest. My daughter and I were both of those adjectives, but Jesus had other burdens in mind. I’ve carried many of them at various times in my life and known others who have as well. In fact, at any given time, I may be lugging around two or three of them.
The burdens Jesus references are familiar: fear, worry, anxiety, loneliness, debt, addictions, doubt, tiredness, grief, discomfort, bad relationships. Sometimes, others’ actions load me down with these burdens, but normally I don’t need any help. I pick them up all by myself.
God doesn’t intend for me or anyone to carry these unbearable loads. Jesus said giving them to Him results in rest: emotional, spiritual, and physical rest. The rest comes from learning to depend on Him, from going deeper spiritually with Him, and from learning to live with contentment regardless of my circumstances.
Don’t lug around loads God never intended for you to bear. Give them to Jesus and experience an incomprehensible rest.

Prayer: Father, our tendency is to pack heavily, but we ask You to teach us to pack lightly. 

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