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The Luggage of Life

The Luggage of Life

To get an idea of the freedom found in Jesus Christ, imagine yourself donning the literal pieces of luggage (all overpacked) that were just described. You’re carrying a suitcase of guilt in one hand and a sack of discontent in the other. There’s a duffel bag of weariness slung over one shoulder and bag of grief on the other.

A backpack of doubt is strapped on your back.

Let that mental picture linger for a moment. The exhaustion. The stretched muscles. The strain on your

cramped fingers and your aching back. Now, imagine dropping each piece. Feel the release. Take in a deep breath. Finally, you are free!

If we let Him, God will lighten our loads.

But how do we let Him? May I invite an old friend to show us?

The Twenty-third Psalm. You know how it starts:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1–3

Does a more beloved psalm exist? Framed and hung in hospital halls, scratched on prison walls, quoted by the young, and whispered by the dying. In these lines sailors have found a harbor, the frightened have found a Father, and strugglers have found a friend. It’s been set to music in a hundred songs, translated into a thousand tongues, domiciled in a million hearts.

One of those hearts might be yours. What kinship do you feel with this psalm? Where do its verses transport you? To a fireside? Bedside? Graveside?

This passage is to the minister what balm is to the physician. I recently applied them to the heart of a dear friend. I was summoned to his house with the words, “the doctors aren’t giving him more than a few days.” I looked at him and understood. Face pale. Lips stretched and parched. Skin draping between bones like old umbrella cloth between spokes. The cancer had taken so much: his appetite, his strength, his days. But the cancer hadn’t touched his faith. Pulling a chair to his bed and squeezing his hand, I whispered, “Bill, ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.’” He rolled his head toward me as if to welcome the words.

Reaching the fourth verse, fearful that he might not hear, I leaned forward until I was a couple of inches from his ear and said, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” He didn’t open his eyes, but he arched his brows. He didn’t speak, but his thin fingers curled around mine. I wondered if the Lord was helping him set down some luggage: the fear of dying.

Do you think God might use David’s psalm to lighten your load? Traveling light means trusting God with the burdens that you were never intended to bear. He wants to use you. But how can He use you if you are exhausted?

It reminds me of a time I was preparing for a jog but couldn’t decide what to wear. The sun was out, but the wind was chilly. The sky was clear, but the forecast said rain. Jacket or sweatshirt? The Boy Scout within me prevailed. I wore both.

I needed to stay in touch with my kids, so I carried a cell phone. I worried that someone might steal my car, so I pocketed my keys. As a precaution against thirst, I brought along some drink money in a pouch. I looked more like a pack mule than a runner! Within half a mile, I was peeling off the jacket and hiding it in a bush. That kind of weight will slow you down. 

What’s true in jogging is true in faith. God has a great race for you to run. Under His care, you will go where you’ve never been and serve in ways you’ve never dreamed. But you will first have to drop some stuff.

After all, how can you share grace with others if you are full of guilt? How can you offer comfort to someone in need if you are disheartened? How can you lift someone else’s load if your arms are full with your own?

Have you ever considered the impact that excess baggage you are carrying has had on your relationships? We’ve made this point at our church by virtue of a drama.

A wedding is reenacted in which we hear the thoughts of the bride and groom. The groom enters, laden with luggage. A bag dangles from every appendage. And each bag is labeled: guilt, anger, arrogance, insecurities. This fellow is loaded. As he stands at the altar, the audience hears him thinking, Finally, a woman who will help me carry all my burdens. She’s so strong, so stable, so...

As his thoughts continue, hers begin. She enters, wearing a wedding gown but, like her fiancé, is covered with luggage. Pulling a hanging bag, shouldering a carry-on, hauling a makeup kit, paper sack — everything you could imagine and everything labeled. She has her own bags: prejudice, loneliness, disappointments. 

And her expectations? Just listen to what she is thinking: Just a few more minutes and I’ve got a husband. 

No more counselors. No more group sessions. So long, discouragement and worry. I won’t be seeing you anymore. He’s going to fix me.

They stand at the altar, lost in a mountain of luggage. They smile their way through the ceremony. But when given the invitation to kiss each other, they can’t. Their arms are so full of bags that they can’t embrace each other. 

For the sake of the God you serve, travel light.

For the sake of those you love, travel light.

For the sake of your own joy, travel light.

There are certain weights in life you simply cannot carry. Your Lord is asking you to set them down and trust Him. He is the father at the baggage claim. When a dad sees his five-year-old son trying to drag the family trunk off the carousel, what does he say? The father will say to his son what God is saying to you.

“Set it down, child. I’ll carry that one.” 

What do you say we take God up on His offer? We just might find ourselves traveling a little lighter.

By the way, I may have previously overstated my packing problems. (I don’t usually take snowshoes when I’m traveling.) But I can’t overstate God’s promise:

Throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon Him, for you are His personal concern. — 1 Peter 5:7 Phillips

The Heart of the Matter

  • Jesus invites you to drop the baggage you try to carry through life.
  • Give Him the burdens you were never intended to bear.
  • You cannot reach out to others if your hands are already full.
  • Take Jesus up on His offer and learn how to travel light.

Memory Verse

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. — John 8:36

The Heart of Jesus

Mary, like the rest, stood amazed at the appearance of Jesus in the room. She had been weeping since Friday, when news of His capture and trial had reached her. Her heart had been pierced at the sight of Him, beaten almost beyond recognition. But a mother always knew her Son. She had longed to run to His side, to clean the blood from His face and soothe His tattered back. She had wanted to stand between Him and the Roman soldiers, to protect Him from His executioners. When the nails had pierced His hands, she’d turned her eyes from the scene, but she’d stood her ground. She would not abandon her precious Son. Though it had broken her heart, she’d stayed nearby until He was gone.

She had seen Him die. Yet here He was, alive! And in His resurrection, she found freedom. She was free from the disapproval of the temple leaders, free from all her motherly worries about Him, free from the sibling rivalries within her family, and free from the sorrow that had pierced her heart like a sword (see Luke 2:35).

Excerpted with permission from Experiencing the Heart of Jesus by Max Lucado, copyright Max Lucado.

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Your Turn

Are you carrying around a mound of heavy luggage? Is it preventing you from living life with joy, hope, and purpose? It is disrupting your relationships? Jesus wants you to put it down! What are you setting down today? Come share with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily