Thursday, November 6, 2008


When I travel, I am one of these people that will do just about anything to avoid checking a bag. It's not that I have the largest carry-on in the world, it is smaller than most. In fact, it is usually my work stuff that causes the problems - my computer and all the paper that I end up carrying with me (have to try to work on the plane). Since you can't have three bags, lots of times my computer gets shoved into my suitcase or my briefcase. I hit the security screening station and I start unpacking. After re-packing on the other side, I grab all my stuff and run to the gate (I'm usually cutting it close, or trying to make an earlier flight than the one I am scheduled for).

If I do have time to wait and want to try to get a cup of coffee or a snack, I end up trying to figure out how to juggle everything (I once saw a security office beginning to prod my "unattended baggage" and he was not amused when I ran over to claim it, so I now never walk away from my bags (well, not for more than a few seconds . . .)). Then you try to get all this stuff down the increasingly narrow aisle on the plane, into the overhead and under the seat, back off of the plane, out to the cab, out of the cab and into the hotel, up to the room, over to the meeting/deposition/court/whatever . . . you get the picture.

Of course, along the way there are all sorts of opportunities to let someone take care of your bags. You can check your bag at the airport (curbside, even). The cab driver almost always gets out and is there to put your bags in the trunk. Someone at the hotel offers to carry your bags to the front desk or your room. They will hold your bags at the hotel the next day. But I almost never choose any of them. Oh no, not me. I'm fine. I can carry these and get them where I need them. I've got it all under control.

I find that I have these same tendencies with other baggage. I have a hard time letting it go and just keep carrying it around with me. Jesus is right there, telling me to let go, offering to carry my burdens. "Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:30 (The Message) But, even though I work at it, it can be very hard to do. I know that He is there, but why should he have to carry my burden? I think the answer is agonizingly simple - He shouldn't. Jesus didn't carry all our sins to the cross because He should have; He did it so that we don't have to.

Not too long ago I was on a trip where it just wasn't going to work; I had to check a bag. What a pleasure walking through the airport. Not worrying about it, dragging it around, fighting with it in the airplane. In a way, I felt a little bit freed. It was liberating. Everything was so much easier.

Of course the analogy is pretty obvious, the same feelings come when I am successful in giving that other baggage to God - I can live "freely and lightly."

I still rarely check a bag, despite knowing how much better things can be when I do. But I do think that I am getting at least a little bit better at giving things to God. I understand that He is there and that He wants to carry those burdens.

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." Psalm 68:19 (NIV)

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