Have you ever sat in an airport and observed the people coming and going? Did you notice their baggage? Anything from backpacks to extra large suitcases and everything in between. What is in their baggage and what will they do with it?
These days most people choose to keep their baggage as close to themselves as possible. Not only to avoid theft but to avoid the fees for checking it. They stuff their carry-on under the seat or jam everything they can into the overhead compartment and off they go.
I am a classic over-packer. My motto is, “I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” If you are traveling by air that gets expensive but nowadays most of my trips are by car so I’m not limited on how much baggage I can carry with me.
On my last trip, a three day get-away I filled the back of my car with three bags, a backpack, two totes and a cooler. In hindsight, I recognize how much work this is. Consider everything involved. First, I must drag each item I want to take out strategically placing each in the appropriate bag. Next I must carry my bags to the cars so I can load them.
Upon arrival I need to fetch one of the wheeled carts the hotel provides. Transfer all my baggage from the car to the cart, wrestle the cart through the hotel lobby to the elevator. Somehow finesse the luggage cart onto the elevator and off again once I reach my floor.
After wheeling the cart to my room and unloading my cargo, I also get the pleasure of taking the cart back to the lobby. Whew, that’s exhausting just to contemplate. Not to mention the fact that when my trip ends I get to go through the entire process all over again.
But the truth is this is not the only baggage I deal with in my life. What kind of baggage am I talking about? The bags holding painful memories, negative thoughts, hurts, disappointments, unhealthy relationships, regrets, unresolved conflicts, physical and emotional health issues, and the list goes on.
But you understand what I’m talking about because we all have baggage. Each day as we roll out of bed we pick our bags and carry them with us as we go about our day. The problem is, just like my silly ritual of over packing wears me out carrying unnecessary baggage in our lives weighs us down and wears us out too.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. Jesus, says there is a better way.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. for my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 (NLT)
Wow! Jesus is inviting us to a yoke exchange. Now you might be saying, wait a minute, isn’t a yoke used for work? The answer is yes. Animals wear yokes when they are working. So what work is He asking us to do? Well, let’s look at John 6:29 (AMP), Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
Believe is another way of saying trust. Our job is to trust Jesys. Trust that He is who He says He is and He will do what He promised to do. The problem is when we are gripping our baggage our hands are too full to receive what He has for us. We need to set our bags at His feet and trust Him. When we do, we will find rest.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 (NLT)
With an offer like this what are we waiting for? Will you join me as we exchange our yoke for His?
But remember, don’t reclaim your baggage once you put it down. I found an exercise I believe is a great way to symbolize laying our baggage down once and for all.
Find a quiet place where you can reflect and take a moment to write a list of all the baggage you are carrying. When you finish place your list in the recycling bin and pray this prayer: “Dear Lord, thank you for inviting me to exchange my yoke for yours. I am placing my list in the recycling bin symbolizing our yoke exchange. I trust you and I won’t pick my bags up again because I know your way is best. Amen.”