Most of us are not strangers to traveling, whether it be a daily commute or long-haul travel. Our trip to the U.S. Conference in October lasted 20 hours with several stopovers. Upon arrival in America, we were in a rush to get through the airport. As we hurriedly emptied our pockets and removed our bags for security, my backpack passed through the X-ray machine but something was detected so it was stopped and brought back. The staff motioned for me to bring it over for inspection and asked me, “What’s in your backpack?” As it turned out, it was an unsuspecting stapler that caused the delay.
With life often compared to a journey, it would be good to regularly evaluate what we carry with us. What is in our “backpack” says something about our values, priorities, and aspirations. There may be things that should be there but aren’t. At times, we may be carrying things that are nice to have, but not really necessary. We may also be unsuspectingly taking along things that delay us by distracting us or weighing us down.
Hebrews 12:1 comes to mind, “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…”
We can be weighed down by physical baggage, in terms of too much dependence on people or material things. It can be emotional baggage – like resentment, discontent, envy, and insecurity. It could be spiritual baggage – like guilt, legalism, self-righteousness, or sinful habits we refuse to confront. Sometimes these are clearly evident to us. Sometimes though, further introspection is required to come to terms with what is in our “backpack”, and what we should or shouldn’t take along.
At the crossroads of another year, let us rest and reflect on what we have been carrying with us. Allow God to search our heart and detect what does not belong there. What are the things we should not leave and live without? In this journey, let us make room for what matters – the joy of salvation, hope for the kingdom, boldness for the gospel, and passion for God and for the people he has called us to love. Happy travels!
Prayer: Lord, in this life we all go through, you are with us all the way. Let nothing hold us back, or weigh us down, but rather, refresh us, and help us fix our eyes on you. In Jesus name, Amen.
By Eugene Guzon