Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over
evil spirits. These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a
staff--no bread, no bag, no money in you belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.
Whenever you enter a house stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not
welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony
against them (Mk.6:7:11).
There is a cost to following Christ, and a true sacrifice
that must be made by those who would seek to call themselves His disciples. This is no
secret. Time and again the within the scriptures we are reminded that to truly follow Him
means that we are ready and willing to give up everything for Him. But what is giving
something up if there is no other purpose than simply for the sake of giving it up? Have
we been asked to give up everything just to prove we are true to our commitment to Jesus?
The life of a Christian is often described as a walk or a journey. We see it as a moving
forward toward a place or "promised land" where God is taking us. If we consider
the life of a Child of God, we might see from the outset unto the finish as being somewhat
of a great distance. If we then have set out on a journey toward a distant place, how do
we perceive that we would prepare for the journey? What do we see ourselves taking along,
and how much?
One thing to keep in mind is who we are following. We are following Christ. In so doing we
are going to have to be able to keep up with Him, but we will have a lot of trouble doing
so if we are encumbered with a great many things to carry. For if we have decided to take
our prized possessions along, we will soon grow weary and slow in our pace and soon lose
sight of Christ in the far off distance. If we are worried that we will not have enough
food or water or money for the trip, we might take along too much and once again cause
ourselves to fall behind.
We begin a journey following our Lord. We are strong and excited and ready to go--ready
also to give up much to do so. But as we take to our path our feet become entangled in the
chains of the cares of this life, and the shackles of our desires. We continue
onward--slowing with each step. One by one the chains and shackles are added. One by one
they pull against our forward movement, until one day we stop moving all together. Our
journey in the path of Christ comes to a halt, and our eyes see nothing but the chains
that surround us. Those chains then become a security, and something we take pride in. For
where as once we saw them as a hindrance to our walk with God, we look at them now and say
to ourselves, "Look at the life I have made for myself--not bad!" A nice house,
a good job and a comfortable lifestyle--and a journey that was somewhere forgotten in the
midst of it all.
We are asked to follow Christ and to throw aside anything that hinders. There is more to
it than giving things up--there is a journey that cannot progress until we do.