Encouragement 11-07-03

November 7, 2003

Encouragement for Today



Lou Ann Prater


Key Verse: 


He told them, "Take nothing for the journey - no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic." Luke 9:3




Every time we go on a trip, we over pack. We take the necessities, then throw in the "just in case" items. Just in case we get sick, just in case it gets cold, just in case we get wet, dirty or hot.  Our bags resemble my stomach after an “all-you-can-eat” buffet, loaded and ready to pop!  We then shuffle these heavy burdens through airports, break our backs lifting them out of car trunks and lug them into hotel rooms. Arriving home we soon discover our "just in case" items spent the entire trip "just in the case...the suitcase" and never saw the light of day.


My cousin and I shared trip stories recently. Her family went to Australia and we went to Europe, both suffering from the "just in case" syndrome. Our minds became so preoccupied with keeping track of our stuff that we missed once in a lifetime opportunities. She didn't swim in the Pacific; we didn't make the Sound of Music Tour.


Planning and packing… it's what we do best. Sometimes we approach serving God in the same manner. We want to be so totally in control, ready for any circumstance that we don't leave room for God to work. While we're toting the perfect lesson plan for a Bible study, we miss the hurting heart. While we prepare for the teen trip we miss the crying girl in the corner. While we get bogged down in the details, we don't allow God to take us on a detour to reveal something beautiful or teach us something new.


In this passage from Luke, Christ was telling his disciples to go work some miracles instead of just getting burdened down with the stuff. If you are concentrating on keeping track of stuff, you may lose sight of me. Learn to be totally dependent and know that I am sufficient to meet your every need.  Wow, what faith!  What guts!  What surrender!  He didn’t just say, pack light, he said don’t pack AT ALL! 


Think of the type of men who were disciples.  Matthew, the tax collector was held accountable for every cent he collected.  Planning, collecting and reporting were natural details for his line of work.  Peter, the fisherman was in control of his life, a very strong personality who called the shots. He not only knew where his next meal was he knew when he was going to get it.  Thomas the doubter had a hard time believing when Jesus rose from the dead.  I’m sure he also had a few doubts about how they would survive during a certain fishing trip with no provisions.  And we know that Judas the traitor loved money.  After all, he turned Jesus over to murderers for a few pieces of silver.  So you can imagine what was going through His mind when Jesus said, “Take nothing for the journey.”


We all love to be in control of our destiny, don’t we?  We want the plan in place, the map laid out, the goals set before us when we put the wheels in motion.  God is calling us to be open to detours. He wants us to trust in Him for all of our needs.   We have no idea what tomorrow holds, but we know the One who holds tomorrow.  While we're busy lugging around our baggage, God is calling us to let go, "just in case" he wants to move us in a new direction.


My Prayer for Today: 


Father, teach me to let go of all the unnecessary stuff in my life. Detour my plans to fit yours.  Amen!


Application Steps: 


God is always at work.  Be on the lookout for His gentle tug.  Watch for opportunities to get involved in something out of the ordinary, but right in the middle of His will.


Reflection Points: 


How do I limit God in my life by never letting go of the controls?

Where is God leading me today?

When have I put on the brakes when God said, “Go”?

What is the one area of my life that keeps me from trusting the provision of God?

Whom does God want to touch through my life today?


Power Verses:


Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  (NIV)


Psalm 27:11  Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path (NIV)



Isaiah 55:9 As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways (NIV)


Hosea 14:9 The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. (NIV)


Proverbs 4:11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. (NIV)



Additional Resources:


Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes


Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed  by Lysa TerKeurst


Coming Out of the Dark by Mary Southerland



Originally published Monday, 10 November 2003.