Mark 12:30-31King James Version (KJV)
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
King James Version (KJV)
by Public Domain
We are commanded to do two things: love God and love your neighbor. I am reminded of this commandment every time I try to pack a suitcase.
My last commercial flight forced me to pack only two bags. Each bag must meet specific size requirements so I may be allowed to carry them on avoiding the baggage check. Within my bag, I am limited to sizes of fluid containers and must adhere to other regulations prohibiting certain things like scissors or sharp objects.
Each time I pack, I struggle to meet all the regulations. I unpack my suitcase several times until I get the contents down to the bare minimum meeting all the requirements. I have to seriously prioritize my belongings taking only the bottom line of stuff. Plus, I rearrange the contents between the rolling bag and the hand bag to make the most suitable weight distribution. How I hate having a sore shoulder from lugging things I could have easily rolled in my little suitcase.
I pack under such stress because the ultimate goal of arriving at a destination is so appealing. I have to consider the activities I will participate in, the weather I will encounter, and the length of stay. As challenged as I feel packing two little suitcases, I continue because I look forward to my destination.
So, why do I balk at doing the two things Jesus asked me to do before I arrive at my final eternal destination? Yes, it is challenging to love God as I should. Loving those around me is even harder than getting three days of thirty three inch inseam jeans and two pairs of size twelve shoes into a carry on bag. But, if Heaven is more wonderful than the view from a helicopter over the Waimea Canyon, why is it so hard to do those two things? Do I really appreciate the joy of Heaven enough to overcome my failure to please God doing just two things?
It’s helpful for me to study my travel brochure before I embark on a journey. I don’t want to miss any sites or restaurants or museums in the area. The disappointment to learn that I missed a botanical garden or fabulous eatery has prompted me to always do a thorough internet search prior to any travel. Is this the problem regarding Heaven? Have I studied diligently to understand what awaits me so that I am prepared when I get there?
The next time I pack, I know I will repeat the same gyrations in organizing stuff. It will encourage me to consider if the effort to pack two suitcases is greater than my effort to meet the two requests of the Lord. Cargo is placed on a plane to balance the aircraft for safe and efficient flight. Should my efforts to balance my obedience to the Lord’s request be any less critical? Just like a plane out of balance can crash, a spiritual life out of balance can leave us on the runway in splintered fragments of refuse.
Check your bags, Christian. Are you carrying just the right stuff for a long stay in eternity? Love God and love those around you and you’ll discover your ticket is upgraded to first class!