“He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts.” Mark 6:8
In the Gospels, Jesus tells his apostles to travel light so that they are not weighed down by material possessions. The reason for traveling light is so they could focus on their mission of spreading the gospel and the good news without being weighed down by their possessions.
So many times, our accumulation of stuff can get in the way of our relationship with God and his will for us. Today’s society focuses on our possessions, our “stuff” and not on God. We are inundated with the message that we can never be happy, or fulfilled, satisfied or successful until we by this thing or that thing. The world tells us that our happiness is confined to and directly related to our “stuff”.
The problem is that almost as soon as we have purchased the latest object of our wants, we find that it really doesn’t satisfy us, doesn’t really provide true happiness and we turn our thoughts and desires to the next thing we want to buy in hopes that it will provide the satisfaction and happiness we desire.
The truth is that only God can provide ultimate happiness and satisfaction. This is not an easy thing to absorb considering how we are bombarded each day by advertisements to buy this or that. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul stated that he had to learn to be content. We too must learn to be content. There is no need to keep accumulating more and more stuff to satisfy our need for happiness when what we really need to do is to turn to God who will provide all the joy we could possible desire.
“A religion that believes in a God who became flesh and blood cannot have a negative attitude toward material things.”
However, our attitude toward material things can be the problem when things have a more important place in our lives than our mission to proclaim the good news. Often our energy and focus is diverted from our faith life into collecting and maintaining the things we have – the house, the car, the computer, the boat…..
Jesus wanted his disciples focused on their mission not their stuff. He also wants us focused on our mission not our stuff. The mission hasn’t changed in the past 2000 years. We are still supposed to be traveling light, focusing on people and not on our stuff. Our Commission is still to share God’s word with all we meet.
“I was created by God to grow, to move, to journey on the great adventure of life. The more things I pile up, the less I am able to more in this or that direction. I become less an adventurer…and more a watchman.”
I was reflecting on my morning reading and thought that this would be a good thought to share with you. The direct quotes in this reflection come from “The Little Burgundy Book: Six-minute reflections on Stewardship in light of the Gospel of Mark, based on the writings and homilies of Bishop Ken Utener. Jon