When I travel, I am tempted to bring along more than I will use. You never know, I just might need these items! So, in they go … just in case. The design of modern-day luggage makes it much easier to pack more when we leave home. The handle that extends from one end and the rollers on the other end save a lot of energy when walking through airports.
Likewise, at no other time in history has there been such temptation to travel through life with more than we actually need. The common citizens of the world’s wealthier nations enjoy an unparalleled standard of living. As a result, our lives resemble over-stuffed suitcases.
Jesus talks about this in Matthew 6:24-34 and drives the point home in verse 33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
You find single-mindedness and contentment when you decide what comes first.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Once you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour He comes in to establish His kingship in your life. This is a one-time event, but the process of seeking His leadership in every area of your heart and mind is made of daily choices that are often difficult.
I know this can be done. I have had seasons in my life when my thoughts are so focused on my relationship with the Lord and on what He is saying and doing that the things of this world fade into insignificance. The challenge is to sustain this focus by filling our minds with the Word of God and filling our hearts with the Spirit of God.
At the young age of 33 (this seems younger to me all the time) and after just three years of public ministry, Jesus could say (in John 19:30) of His life’s work, “It is finished.” By our standards we would ask, “How could He possibly have been finished? His life was cut tragically short by injustice and hatred.” According to the standards of the kingdom of heaven He was finished. He knew what the Father wanted Him to do and He did it.
Sam Logan defines success as, “Finding out what God wants you to do and doing it.”
Someone advised me, “Do all the different things you can do before you are forty. In the second half of your life, specialize in a few.”
People who grow less preoccupied with what others think of them and more focused on the few priorities assigned to them from heaven are the ones who finish life well.
I have had the opportunity to step back from life and reconsider what is most important to me. At one time in our lives most of our earthly possessions were in storage for almost a year and we discovered how little we actually need. Beyond a few basic biggies, here is a good rule of thumb before you commit your time, energy or money to another priority: “Add one, drop two.” In order to make room for one additional activity or responsibility you will probably have to remove two others to provide the needed room in your life.
What are you doing currently that doesn’t make a difference, that doesn’t need to be done at all and that does not contribute to your life’s purpose?
You find single-mindedness and contentment when you trust God for the rest.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. What things? The Almighty God of heaven and earth promises to look after your basic needs—if you preoccupy yourself with His kingdom and His righteousness. We could swap stories of how He has looked after our needs for food, clothing and shelter over the years.
Why is it that we scratch and claw to acquire just as many material possessions as we possibly can? Simply put, it is lack of faith! We refuse to trust our Heavenly Father to provide for our needs so we live in anxiety over where and how we will get our daily bread. In our lack of connectedness with His life-giving Holy Spirit, we seek out other ways to medicate the ache in our souls. We buy into the notion that a new house or a new car will satisfy.
Imagine how difficult it would be to read a book or article if there were no margins. The pages would be filled with text and pictures and we would get overwhelmed just looking at it all. In a similar way our days become overwhelming when we try to cram more and more activities into them. How much is enough?
I don’t claim to live in the reality of my discovery all the time; but I have found the secret to contentment—to give myself to what comes first, and to trust in my Heavenly Father to look after the rest.
So, what is in your suitcase? Do you need all these items?
Conclude what matters most and the Lord will look after the rest. Travel lightly.