BIBLE READING: Mark 6:1-13
“Take nothing with you,”
Not a loaf of bread, or a bag, or a little extra cash, or an extra coat.
I have been sorting stuff - trying to decide what to keep and what to dispose of. I have so much stuff! When Margaret and I got married, we had a sticker on our car that read, “live simply that others might simply live”. And yet right now in my home I have rooms of stuff that makes me begin to feel like I am a hoarder!
We are certainly encumbered
with more ‘stuff’ than Jesus’ first audience was, but the capability of that
‘stuff’ far outpaces anything first century people could have ever imagined.
Indeed, today maybe Jesus would not only say to pack lightly. but he would ask and encourage us to leave behind at least one thing in particular. Oh, I’m pretty certain that Jesus would look right at me and tell me to leave my cell phone behind.
Think of all the ways in which that powerful little computer both assists you in your life and gets in the way of your living. What do you think Jesus wants you to leave behind today?
What would cause you the most anxiety to not have with you?
For me, it is this mobile phone. A week does not go by that I do not find myself plugging an unfamiliar address into my phone, relying on it to lead me from where I am to my destination, even calculating how long it takes to get there.
And I count on the fact that your contact information is right here - right at my fingertips. I can call or text or instant message someone at any time of the day or night. But oh, might that convenience just keep me from interacting with those right before or alongside me now? In fact, I see this all the time that when encountering a socially awkward situation, people pull out their cell phones. As you know, we often don’t just sit in restaurants anymore - whether alone or with friends - without those phones at least sitting on the table beside us - if not actually using them as a ready source of entertainment or distraction, entirely tuning out those across from us or around us.
Next time you are on the
train - check out those who do not have a phone out and their heads down - very
The intent of Jesus is that we leave all the stuff behind that gets in the way of our seeing, truly seeing the world God made and the people who inhabit it.
His intent is to have us set aside that which makes us believe that we are fully self-reliant in this world, for, in fact, we are not.
The intent surely is to give ourselves a chance to appreciate the community God is yearning for us to experience and rely upon. To do all we can to see, to really see those to whom we are sent. For to not do so will likely mean that whatever gifts we are meant to bear to the world will neither be given nor received in the fullest way God intends them.
Wouldn’t that be interesting to just leave our phones behind for a little while so as to better be able to experience God’s good gifts for us now and to be better able to share those gifts with the world?
If Jesus were to give these same instructions today, he would say to leave behind my cell phone. Do you think that would be so? What else might make the list today?
Jesus tells the disciples to leave all that stuff behind so that they might be more aware of their own need for others, their own need to be reliant upon God and God’s good gifts, and to be better able to share those gifts with the world.
What is Jesus calling you to give up - to let go of - to limit the use of?
Acknowledgement: Rev Dr Janet Hunt