I fly a lot. I’ve slowly graduated from white-knuckle-gripping the armrests and praying in hushed, panicked gasps for Jesus to keep my airplane in the air to feeling like a jet-setter, brisk-walking through the airport with my savvy traveler know-how in my comfy Sketchers and leggings. No matter how many times I fly, though, I can’t stand the wait for my luggage. I stand awkwardly with my arms crossed and feel as though I might go cross-eyed as I seek out my own suitcase in that sea of black bags. There’s a lot of repetition at the baggage claim, but there’s always something unique about our bag. A broken wheel. A scratch. That tag that we should have taken off after our last trip but we forgot. Because we have a life. And no one really wants their baggage to get in the way. Except that it does. And we all know it.
But what happens before we stand impatiently at the baggage claim? Before we’re tapping our feet and dreaming of a toilet that doesn’t require a seat cover (just me?) We made a choice to get on that flight. We left something behind. Because we knew we were going someplace new.
For Christians, that flight was our choice to ask Jesus into our heart, that sweet whisper of surrender to give our life to this God who loved us before we were even born. It was a single moment, a single choice that changed our direction and our destination.
And yet we still end up at the baggage claim. To collect the baggage we carry with us. Unfortunately we don’t get to leave it behind. We might try. But the airline’s going to call us. They don’t want our baggage either.
What is the cost when Jesus says, “Follow me?” Jesus says this eight times in the Bible; many are the same story from a different perspective, and most of them are directed at the disciples. The disciples, despite whatever rose-colored image we can sometimes garner from Sunday school, were the old-world equivalent of a train wreck. In our most natural, sinful self, we probably wouldn’t even want to hang with these guys. We’d be making excuses about how we need to wash our hair or clean a toilet. Seriously.
Matthew was a tax collector. That means he was basically a traitor, and socially equivalent to pond scum. Brothers James and John were nicknamed the Sons of Thunder. (Which I interpret as hot heads that always ended up in detention.) Peter was married so he couldn’t be that bad, but I’m going to assume he didn’t pick up his socks and left the toilet seat up. (Actually, Peter is my favorite, and you’ll discover why later in this series.)
They weren’t perfect, but more than that, they literally left everything behind when Jesus said, “Follow me.” Matthew stood up and left his tax business. The brothers James and John left their father’s large fishing business. Peter’s marriage would never be the same.
Jesus had no place to lay his head. The disciples followed him anyway, knowing they were giving up all their comforts. We’re lucky! We follow Christ with Starbucks and shoes we got on sale at DSW.
I think often about the disciple who wanted to bury his dad before following Jesus and Jesus said, “Follow me and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:22). We don’t know whether that same disciple was one of the twelve or if he was a guy who wanted to follow but wasn’t willing to leave his baggage behind. Talk about a missed opportunity!
Regardless of what the disciples physically left behind – or what they might have wanted to leave behind – they still carried the three bags we carry. And they had Jesus walking in front of them!
So what are these three bags? The trinity of self, doubt, and failure. In this short series, we’re going to unpack these three bags and discover how our faith in Christ can actually lift the weight of these burdens we carry – so we can travel light and jet-set through our unique ministries, walking in confidence in our calling and our cute shoes.
Are you part of a women’s team or on the ministry team at your church? This is one of my speaking topics, and I’d love to speak for your women in you live in Virginia! You can contact me on my Contact Page.
Have you subscribed to receive new blog posts and my YouTube Shares straight to your email? Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE HERE. You’ll receive my 7-Day Devotional, Praying to Move Mountains, FREE!