A strange directive from Jesus to the twelve disciples, “Don’t take anything with you.”Jesus gave them power and authority to cast out demons and heal all diseases. Then, he added,” Don’t take anything with you, not even a walking stick.” (Luke 9, NLT) The Message translation reads,” Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment.” Them? You? Me? We are it? What about just one carry-on bag?
So how did we get from being the equipment to working so hard to accumulate it?
This morning I read Cassady Rosenblum’s article in the NY Times, “Work is a False Idol.” In her piece she referred to Mr. Luo, a worker in China and promoter of the “lying flat” movement. He asserts his “right to choose a slow life style.” For many middle class Chinese the usual work week is from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. For some, “work has become intolerable. Rest is resistance.” And Tricia Hersey, in Atlanta, promotes The Nap Ministry, a gospel of sleep, “as resistance and reparation.”
So where’s this going? Well, yesterday was Sunday. God’s idea of rest, a blessed interlude between what was and what’s ahead. God knows we need it, so commanded us to “remember to observe the Sabbath.’ “(Deuteronomy 15:12-15, NLT) We forget sometimes. One of the gifts of growing older is contentment with less stuff and more gratitude for God’s ongoing reminders, “you are the equipment.” Still? Still. Our work matters but we and our relationship with God and others matters more. Still, I need reminders “to keep it simple.”
Sometimes I feel like the little kid in Sunday School who didn’t want to go back. When his mama asked why he said, “I already know more than I do.”
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