From the cross, Jesus never looked over the crowd and said, “I’ll save him and her and that family over there and you. No, not you–yeah, you.”
I awoke this morning considering the excellent, thoughtful message about baggage from our pastor yesterday morning. As often happens, the lyrics to a song I remember from high school days came to mind. . .
Are you tired of chasing pretty rainbows?
Are you tired of spinning round and round?
Wrap up all the shattered dreams of your life
And at the feet of Jesus lay them down
He never said there’d only be sunshine
He never said there’d be no rain
He only promised a heart full of singing
About the very thing that once brought pain
give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus
Shattered dreams, wounded hearts, broken toys,
Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus
And He will turn your sorrow’s into joy
Did you see it? That little word, ‘all’?
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s not gonna work for me.”
Oh? Can you help me understand why?
“Well, see, I’ve carried these feelings around a long time. They’re #1 on my Mental Favorites list. They’re my ‘go-to’ all-purpose excuse for hating __________.”
***** Okay. Full stop. We’re not supposed to hate anybody. Right? And only hate anything God says He hates. Right? Nice little song, super message about Jesus loving all of us. Even discussing baggage, which starts getting into the realm of meddling. BUT HATING? How’d we get from being the victim of excess, unwanted baggage to being haters? Isn’t that kind of a leap? Okay. G’head. *****
“Yeah. YEAH. I mean, I know she said, “hating”, but couldn’t you sort of ease us into that without the sledgehammer approach? Where’s your compassion?”
I’m smiling as I compose. It’s always interesting to observe the interplay between several people who may or may not know one another well, but who are aligned against a common perceived threat.
They pounce primarily because of their own individual unease that the target has just touched on a very tender spot and they are welcoming a diversion.
It happened to Jesus a lot because He tended to push through all the conflicting, confusing mental and spiritual underbrush, getting right to the heart of our issues. It happens to every faithful pastor we’ve ever had.
SO. Let’s get back to our subject.
My father-in-law always packed this little thing around with him called a Tommy Traveler. It was a scarred, worn little leather case with a zipper on one side and a carrying handle on one end. It was just big enough to carry razor & shaving cream, comb, toothpaste and -brush, deodorant and a pocket knife. Maybe a pill bottle.
He traveled. When he traveled, he always packed for the trip. Well, okay, Mom probably did the packing. Stay with me. The point is, no matter where Dad went, or how much else he took with him, he was never, EVER without that little Tommy Traveler. He could forget anything else. Sometimes did. But if the Traveler wasn’t in the car?
Cutting to chase. Cue the music.
God couldn’t care less how much baggage you have. He’s not an airline and doesn’t charge extra for excess or oversized baggage. He never has, never will sort through your baggage, telling you, “Okay, yeah, I’ll forgive that and that and this, and–sure, slide that over here, too. Those three, though? Hmmp-mm. You’re on your own, there, Slick.”
Never has happened. God says your life can be permanently stained deep crimson – bloody crimson – but if you’ll give Him all your baggage and recognize Jesus as Savior, receiving Him as such, God’ll wash it and you, making you snowy-white inside again.
“Man, you don’t know where I’ve been.” God does.
“Look, I hate to admit this but you nailed it. I’ve got some pet baggage, not much bigger than your dad’s Tommy Whatsis, but I’ve used it to resent _________ for so long it’s like family, y’know?”
Yeah, I do. You think I never had my own version of some pet baggage that I secretly held onto to justify my hatreds?
“Okay, wait. That’s twice you’ve used ‘hate’.
And I’ll keep using it until you understand: resentment if left unchecked grows into active dislike. And that, if left unchecked, becomes hatred.
“Oh-h-h… The reason for the Tommy Whatsitdooley. . .” Yes. You don’t have to be weighed down by a huge load of luggage, a couple of loaded backpacks, etc. You can be bopping along, having fun and feeling groovy because you’re not packing around all the baggage you once did. Except for that one little comparatively insignificant thing.
“Hey, it’s light compared to what I used to carry around. No biggie, right?”
It’ll become a biggie. It’ll happen. Soon you’ll feel something festering inside you when you’re around _________. Emotional / spiritual / and even physical Tommy Travelers don’t stay little.
Song says, “Give them all to Jesus.”
“Do I have to?” No. God never forces you to do anything; He loves you enough to let you choose. But if you’re into freedom, you get to. God says so.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest….and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
“That’s it? Just. . . let go?” Yeah. Drop it. He’ll take care of the mess.
“WOW! I FEEL SO LIGHT! Hey, thanks! I’m outta here and—-“
Excuse me–you forgot one. . .”
© D. Dean Boone, July 2014