Wednesday, January 16, 2008

When Jesus Sends You, Travel Light!

Those who travel beyond their country s own borders would do well to travel light. Long lines, cumbersome baggage checks, heightened security measures, and the overhanging threat of danger, often make traveling for work or pleasure downright off-putting. Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 shows Jesus commissioning seventy-two followers to go out and share the gospel with those who had never heard its message of salvation. These followers would pave the way for Jesus as he traveled toward Jerusalem. He tells them: Now go, but remember, I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves (Luke 10:3, CEV). Did their caution lights go on? Could they sense impending danger? An old adage says to be forewarned is to be forearmed. If ever there was an off-putting journey, this was it. Yet, hymn writer George Duffield, in his classic standard, Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus, exhorts us to let courage rise with danger when we proclaim the gospel of Christ. Further, Jesus tells these ambassadors of the faith not to take some of the items they would normally carry on a trip. No money, no food, no extra footwear (Luke 10:4). Travel light! This was not a luxurious vacation but a dangerous mission. How would they survive? They were to rely on God s provision, and in response to their obedience, all their needs would be met. We, too, are challenged to take the gospel to the world. Like those seventy-two whom Jesus commissioned, we also need to travel light. Often, the creature comforts of this world dull our sense of Christian duty and make us relax while others around us die for want of the gospel. Thus, we need to shake off sloth, dispense of emotional baggage, fear and doubt, and travel light. The sin of pride is a sneaky one. It can creep in even when our deeds start off with the purest of motives. Why did Jesus, on the return of the seventy-two, squelch their exuberance as they recounted how demons obeyed them when they invoked his name? Jesus told them: Don t be happy because evil spirits obey you. Be happy that your names are written in heaven! (Luke 10:20, CEV). Jesus was warning them against the sin of pride, and pointed them to what really mattered. The apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Galatia (Galatians 6:[1-6] 7-16) also challenges his readers to rid themselves of those sins that would hamper them on their Christian journey. Get rid of pride, selfishness, self-righteousness, bragging, and blind obedience to ritual (Galatians 6:3-4, 8), says Paul. Travel light! Realizing how easy it is to become smug with our accomplishments as we follow Christ, Paul warns: If someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don t be tempted yourself ...If you think you are better than others, when you really aren t, you are wrong... don t compare yourself with others (Galatians 6:1b, 3, 4b, CEV). It takes moral and spiritual fortitude to get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won t let go, but we must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete (Hebrews 12:1b, 2a, CEV). This Reflection is drawn from the Bible Resource Center s e-Bulletin Series - an online ministry of the American Bible Society. The Bible Resource Center is also home to an extensive collection of Essential Bible Study Tools For more Bible Study Resources visit:

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