Packing Light

Reposted from August, 2014 before leaving for a trip to Thailand

The Mission of the Seventy

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.  Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.  Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.  Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’  And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.  Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.  Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ Luke 10: 1-9 NRSV

A couple of years ago, I forgot my suitcase when I was flying home from Pennsylvania. Besides giving friends and the Smartpark driver at the Philadelphia airport something to laugh at all day, I was able to travel unencumbered.  What a freeing experience!

Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals…

What?  Ok,  it is the 21st century, we might need sandals, and at least a bag for our passport…

and money

and phone

and ipod

and tablet

and change of clothes

and Bible

and.. and… and…

What would a travel experience look like if we took Jesus’ words to his disciples to heart? What if we left our luggage at home?

What can you actually live without for one or two weeks?  What can you wear more than one day? Can you go wireless?  Can you use only what your hosts use for personal hygiene, entertainment, daily life? Can you leave out the stuff that would make you look more affluent than your hosts?

Honestly, I struggle with this myself.  I love my ipod, can’t LIVE without my music.   My tablet has a library full of books on it.  I like to change my clothes every day.  And then there is the duct tape, the little knife, the sewing kit… what if someone needs it?

My desire to travel light and to serve humbly collides with my “be prepared” Girl Scout self.  So as I pack for travel,  I walk the line between want and need, luxury vs basic, safety and faith.  May the result be inoffensive to the villagers in Thailand and acceptable in your sight, God.

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