Take Nothing for the Journey

In today’s Gospel, Jesus sends the disciples out to preach the Gospel with instructions to “take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts…not a second tunic.”

I always interpreted the passage as an instruction to rely on God rather than ourselves, to have faith that God would provide us with what we need for our journey. But my friend Beth opened my eyes to a different way of reading the passage in a blog post she wrote a week or so ago, when the Gospel reading was Luke’s version of the same commissioning of the disciples.

Beth interprets the passage as an instruction to leave behind the baggage we often carry around with us so that we can fully offer Jesus’ peace to those with whom we come in contact. The examples she gave were the memory of how someone reacted last time or the knowledge that some person is often less than open. For some the baggage may include a worry they are not good enough. For others, a need to please or be liked by others. But whatever form the baggage takes, it impedes our ability to wholeheartedly preach the Gospel, to offer only Jesus and Jesus’ peace.

We could all profitably ask ourselves: What is the baggage I need to leave behind to more effectively carry out the task to which Jesus has appointed me?