July 31, 2022: Packing Light

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Packing Light

In the past few years my wife has taken an interest in backpacking. Compared to a regular backpack, a back-packing pack might seem huge. However, when you consider that this pack needs to hold your kitchen, your living room, your bedroom, and your bathroom supplies, it isn’t a lot of space. So, when one decides to go backpacking, it’s important to decide which things to bring with you and which things are best left behind. Anything beyond what’s absolutely necessary is considered a luxury. For instance, thru hikers (those who walk the whole Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia) need no more than two pairs of underwear over a span of five to seven months.

In the Parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus reminds us that we don’t need a backpack or even a small carry-on bag to enter the Kingdom of God. Knowing this, we might need to start unpacking the large bags we carry with us in life. If we can’t take our house, car, traditions, church building, social-media profile, and political affiliation with us to heaven, why put so much emphasis on these things right now?

Instead, let’s focus on love and forgiveness and figure out how we can use our temporary treasures to impact the eternal Kingdom of God that we can choose to live in right now. Instead of dying with a bag full of treasure we can’t take with us, why not use our treasure to help others today, when we can be around to witness our gifts making a difference in people’s lives? We can use our resources to provide others with food, shelter, clothing, and transportation. When we do these things for our neighbor, it’s like dipping our toes in the Kingdom of God and feeling what a wonderful place that is without all the baggage.

Adam Goodrich, pastor, Friedland Moravian Church
Winston-Salem, North Carolina