Excess baggage

Ever gone somewhere and packed clothing and then realised upon your return that you didn’t wear half of it?  While packing my bags to get ready for another trip, I was reminded of the extra luggage I had lugged halfway around the world.  “Why did I bring this? Do I need this? Do I need that?” I found myself asking.  I threw a few things out along the way to lighten the load, but there were some things that I didn’t want to let go of.

Thinking about it further I realised there is a lot of baggage that we carry through life that we don’t want to let go of. There are things that we hold on to that weigh us down, things we don’t want to let go of; past hurts, offense, unforgiveness, regret and things we can’t change. Maybe someone hurt you, or someone you trusted betrayed you. If we hold on to these experiences they add weight, excess baggage, to our lives.  We are reminded in the passage in Hebrews 12:1 that we are in a race.  The idea of trying to run a race with luggage and so much weight makes no sense.  Why would we do that?  The writer says, “Let us lay aside every weight … and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  Maybe it’s time for you to lay aside, to leave behind, to run without that weight. It brings such freedom, imagine running the race without excess baggage.

At the end of the trip I was trying to squeeze in some extra shopping. Between myself and my friend we had shopped well, maybe a little too well. When weighing our bags at the airport check-in my friend’s bags were 6 kilograms over the allocated weight.  “There is a $100 charge for each bag that’s overweight,” the hostess said.  I looked at my friend, then looked at my bags.  “Let’s weigh mine,” I said. The scales showed my two bags were each 3 kilograms under, phew! We had avoided the excess baggage charge this time. So we rearranged some luggage, spread it out over my underweight bags, and saved her a couple of hundred dollars in excess baggage, that we could definitely not afford.

There are two problems with excess baggage: 1. It’s a pain to lug around; and 2. It comes at a cost.

You can’t afford to carry the excess baggage any longer – it’s going to cost you more than you’re able to pay. In 1 Peter 5:7 Jesus encourages us to, “cast our burdens upon him.”  Jesus is saying – I have the space and ability to carry this for you, it’s time to lay it aside and throw off the weight.  Today, take the time to unload the excess baggage, to transfer the weight. Don’t let it cost you, when Jesus has already paid the price.

What God starts, He finishes

After a few weeks break from running due to wintery weather, spring decided to pay a visit, so I started out for my usual routine run.  Approximately 3km in I had tired legs, was exhausted and feeling the stretch. I thought, “I am glad that I am not at the gym on the treadmill, because I would probably bail based on how I feel right now.” Being out on the track meant I had no options. I got out there and now I had to make my way home. You can’t just bail and decide you’re done and stop there, you have to finish. I remembered when Paul said, “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

We can have an incredible confidence that, even when our flesh wants to bail, He says, “I started it, I will finish it.”

Aren’t you glad that when you have those “I want to bail” moments that you serve a God who doesn’t have too hard days, or tiredness to make Him retire? What He started out, He will finish. When He says in Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha, and the Omega, I am the beginning and the end,” He means it. He is who He says He is.

Usually the moment you want to quit, comes right before the miracle happens. Paul encourages us in Galations 6:9, “ So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Sometimes it’s just a matter of pushing on even when it hurts or it’s hard. After running another 1km with the burn in my legs, all of a sudden I hit a new level of energy. The fatigue and exhaustion seemed to have left my body and I found a new momentum. I ran 8km that day and finished what I had started, feeling great, but I had to push on or I never would have finished. We reap the rewards when we push on.

Consider the race that you are in. There is a beginning and there is an end. The bonus we have is that He is with us from the start and will see us through to the end.  Hebrews 13:5 says, “He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Keep running your race with confidence. He has the end in mind.