“Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.” —Mark 6:6b-8
Many of you have returned to your more northernly locales or are embarking upon your summer vacations. I wish you a safe summer and much refreshment and eagerly await your fall or winter return! So here is a question for you: how much baggage are you taking? Last summer Clint and I challenged ourselves to travel with only a carry-on bag for a three-week trip to Europe, and I’m pleased to report that it can absolutely be done! Inspired by an article in Conde Nast Magazine, we rolled our clothes densely, packed a few Tide pods so we could do laundry, wore our bulky sneakers on the plane and only packed sandals. We took no appliances and left our hair to dry naturally, and we stuffed our socks into the carry-on’s corners. We depended upon the hospitality of hotels and our European friends to supply the rest. Those little carry-ons rolled neatly along many a cobblestoned street!
In Mark 6:6b-8 Jesus orders his disciples to travel lightly for their commission. He wants them to have faith and to trust. If they were dragging along all kinds of baggage, how easy would it have been for them to reach out with healing and kindness to the ones they were ministering to? Those disciples might have had to exert too much effort in watching their bags, which would be a real distraction from their ministry. And if they already had all they needed, how would they receive the gifts of those they encountered in their journey? Sometimes part of others’ healing is when they can give of themselves, so perhaps those who would be offering hospitality to the twelve were in effect participating in their own healing. So it’s okay, even biblical, to be on the receiving end!
We often want to be self-sufficient to the extent that we over-pack and over-plan. And sometimes if we pack and plan for every eventuality, we may not be open to what God has for us. Carrying around a lot of baggage to be self-reliant, be that baggage material or spiritual, sometimes translates to a lack of faith. Clint often points this out to me: “Where we are going, they will likely have a pharmacy. You don’t need to take our entire medicine cabinet.” In short, have faith, trust, and travel lightly. Be open to what God may have in store. May your summer be blessed!