Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.” (Luke 9:2-3, NLT)
I love to travel, but I’ve finally figured out that it’s easier when I pack light. I am not quite to the point where I can exist for a week or two with one small carry-on bag, but at least I no longer cram so much into my luggage that it won’t zip closed. I am a little more generous in the amount I pack for car trips than flights, and that usually includes a bag of snacks “just in case.” The book bag has been replaced by a phone app as my reading is now digital.
Even with my version of “just the basics,” I often drag around more weight than is comfortable. That makes me very thankful for whoever invented luggage with wheels! Travel is so much easier now.
Although my “light packing” is not that light, I cannot imagine setting out on a trip with absolutely nothing. Yet that’s what Jesus instructed His disciples to do. Take nothing—no money, no food, no change of clothes. Have you ever wondered why? I’ve thought about it and came up with three possible reasons for the Lord’s unusual instructions.
He was teaching them a lesson in faith.
Whether they realized it or not, the disciples were in a training program. In the future they would face many difficult trials and strong persecution. They needed to learn total dependence upon God. By sending them out emptyhanded, He was building up their faith muscles and teaching them that He could supply their every need. The more we depend on “things,” the less we depend upon God.
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)
They were learning to travel unencumbered.
Traveling with too many bags can slow us down. We spend our time worrying about the things we are dragging along with us. We become anxious about keeping them close and safe. They weigh us down and impede our progress.
Remember the story of the rich young ruler in Luke 18? The Lord instructed him to “Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Verse 22, NLT). He just couldn’t give up his possessions. His wealth and material goods meant more to him than God’s purpose for his life.” He was encumbered.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “let us strip off every weight that slows us down” (NLT). We need to be careful that the things we drag along with us don’t hinder the work we are trying to do for the Lord. We can become so encumbered by what we consider essential that we fail to accomplish our main task. We must travel light.
It allowed others to be a blessing.
When the disciples traveled to the various cities, they were blessed by the hospitality offered by townspeople. God used others to supply their needs, and this allowed them to minister more effectively. This is true today as well. We can share in the ministry of others through hospitality and helping to meet their needs.
Whatever God has called us to do in His kingdom, remember to travel light. We can accomplish so much more if we aren’t encumbered by materialism and things that may distract us from our primary focus of winning souls.
Lord, help me to fulfill Your purpose for my life. Whether You will have me travel far or labor for You close to home, help me to discard any weight that would hinder my progress. Help me to always trust Your provision and to travel light.