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Unnecessary Baggage by Susan Ward

It's the last week of lent and I'm still haunted by one of the questions from the first week of the Lenten small group my husband Tim and I participated in:

"If Jesus came, knocked on your door and asked you to come and follow him tonight, would you go?"

As a pastor's wife, I know this might be a little shocking that my answer wasn't an immediate yes. I wanted to say a quick yes. I really did. But I had some questions. I needed a bit more information.

Could I bring my kids? If so, was Jesus aware of what it was like to travel with my three kids? Would Jesus find it terribly disrespectful if they brought their Nintendo DS' along? I'm just imagining a lot of down time between "teachable moments." I'm all for letting them learn from the master but I've read the Sermon on the Mount and if he's got a few more of those planned, my kids might get a bit restless. No DS? Okay how about coloring books? Blank paper and crayons?

I also have a few long-term planning questions. Is this going to be another 3-year thing? What should I tell my employer? Thankfully Tim and I work at a church so they should be pretty understanding about the whole thing but I'm just a little worried about health insurance and college funds. I have these migraines and the medicine is really expensive without health insurance. Maybe Jesus could cure the migraines but I don't want to seem like a burden

In the ideal scenario, Jesus will understand that I'm the kind of person that likes to plan for all contingencies and will walk me through the whole plan before asking me to come along. That's not really his style though. He didn't really do that for anyone else, I don't think he'll make an exception for me. Since that probably won't be the case I will be tempted to bring a whole bunch ofunnecessary baggage along for the trip in order to be prepared for anything that might happenalong the way.

The part of the question that haunts me is the image of me bringing all my baggage along while trying to follow Jesus. Those belongings that I'm sure seemed so important as I packed that hurried night that Jesus came to my house are guaranteed to weigh me down along the journey. I can imagine the others who were able to pack lighter would be keeping up with Jesus much easier, listening to his stories as we causally move from place to place. I, on the other hand, will drag in the back, tired from carrying so much weight and struggling to hear the conversations of Jesus. I will miss too much and be so exhausted as I desperately try to maintain the junk from my old life along my journey to a new life with Jesus.

I picture that scene and I tell myself I will never let that happen. I won't let unnecessary baggage slow down my journey with Jesus. I have trouble admitting that I'm already carrying armloads of unnecessary baggage in my life. I look around and none of it looks unnecessary. There are no glaring objects that seem to be easy things to toss to lighten the load. Instead I've convinced myself that all these things that I fill my days with are crucial elements to daily life.

The truth is, they aren't. It's just unnecessary baggage, getting in the way.

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