Moving house can be a cathartic experience. There are few times in oneís life when just about everything in your possession passes through your hands on its way into, our out of, a packing box. You begin to wonder why you held on to some things, when they are really nothing more than junk. Being confronted with possessions accumulated over many years is a stark process of self-encounter. It can leave one wondering how it all fits in with being a follower of Jesus.
When Jesus sent out his disciples, his instructions were rather stark: He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. Such simplicity allowed them to move wherever the Spirit would lead them. In stark contrast today, the process of moving on is encumbered by superannuation plans, mortgages, long service leave, as well as the physical property which we possess.
Abrahamís life was characterised in two symbols: the altar, and the tent. He could pack and move whenever God prompted. And on arrival, he established a centre of worship.
The people of Israel followed the cloud during their journey in the wilderness, and needed to be prepared to move whenever Godís presence moved from that place.
Such is not to imply that we ought to move back to living in tents, but to remind ourselves of the challenge of flexibility to the winds of the Spirit. The more we possess, the more we are liable to be weighed down. The more we possess, the more we find ourselves working to defend it, expand it, or insure it. And consequently, our minds are turned off the things of God. They no longer become the number one priority in our lives.
God never intended us to be weighed down with responsibilities (his burden is light!). Jesusí instructions to his disciples may well indicate our need to throw off the burdens we have taken on ourselves.
April 29, 2001
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