I’m not naming names (I still want to be remembered in the will), but I have extended family that I’m convinced hauls everything they own when they travel. On more than one occasion, my wife Mary and I have traveled to spend a few days with relatives. Other relatives soon arrive to also stay, but as they begin to unload their car, Mary and I glance at each other with a look that communicates two things:
- “Holy cow. How long are they planning on staying?”
- “How’d they get all that in their car?
Of course, they may question why Mary and I travel so light.
- How do you know what mood you’ll be in and what you’ll feel like wearing on Thursday?
- What happens if you spill salsa on your light green checked shirt? Where’s your backup light-green checked shirt?
- What are you going to wear if you’re suddenly invited to a formal awards dinner?
I realize I’ve probably offended those of you who take an overnight trip with five pieces of luggage (it is a matching set), And maybe you’re right: taking a trip with everything you own is harmless enough.
Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries would disagree. On January 7, 1785, they left England in a hot air balloon in an attempt to cross the English Channel. No big deal, right? Maybe. The whole idea of hot air balloons was less than two years old, and there was still much to figure out about how to navigate and travel. But, hey, the English Channel is only 21 miles across, so what could go wrong?
They didn’t just get in the basket. They had to take plenty of food and luggage. And with a desire to be the first air mail carriers, they took a bag of mail. And then there was a hand-cranked propeller that didn’t even function and the silk-covered oars they planned to use to paddle through the air. (No Frenchman would be caught dead with just a normal oar for paddling through air.)
Surprise, surprise. They had too much weight. At one point, they almost crashed in the channel, so they began tossing all the superfluous stuff overboard. It helped, but not enough.
Finally, they threw everything overboard—including the clothes they were wearing. If they were going to live, they had to lose their pride, which meant losing their silk boxers along with their silk oars.
It worked. They landed in France and gained the distinction of being the first people to cross the English Channel by air—and we can assume the first ones to cross the channel in the nude.
When it comes to our walk with Christ, we can also travel with too much baggage.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:1-2).
Toss these two things overboard:
- Sin. This should be a no-brainer, but we can’t move forward in our lives so long as we’re holding on to our sin. Confess it, let it go, and find freedom in Christ.
- Things that hinder. These things are more subtle. These are not necessarily bad things; in, fact they can be good things. But they hinder us by keeping us from the better things.
Want an example? Watching TV is not necessarily bad, but if we’re too consumed with binge-watching that we never take time to pray or study Scripture, it has become a hindrance. Same thing with Facebook, Instagram, and any social media. Digital relationships can hinder us from the greater good of spending time with someone over coffee, encouraging and praying with them.
Travel light—and see how far you’ll go in Christ.
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