For the last several decades, I have spent a great deal of time traveling—but the novelty of flying on airplanes wore off years ago. Now I consider flying the same way I do driving through Southern California rush hour traffic: a necessity of life.
Since 9/11, air travel has become more burdensome than ever. What used to take 20 minutes—getting into the airport, confirming your ticket, checking your luggage, and going to your gate—can now take as much as two hours depending on the airport, day of the week, and season of the year.
The changes in airport security have spawned a whole new industry: ways to help people travel light. In other words, the lighter you travel, the easier it is on you traveling through airports. Companies are teaching the traveling public how to “get there and back” with the least amount of hassle.
Traveling Light Through Life
There are lots of parallels between traveling light across the country and traveling light through life. Just managing all our “stuff” in this life can become a huge burden. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go all the way through life with nothing but a carry-on? If we could “lay aside every weight . . . which so easily ensnares us” (Hebrews 12:1)?
I am going to tell you the secret to traveling light through this life. Here it is: This world is not your home. That’s it. Traveling light through this life is as simple as applying that profound truth. You’re only going to be on earth for a few years. And when you do get to heaven, you’ll get new stuff anyway. Whatever you collect here, you’ll have to leave behind.
Traveling Spiritually Light
I’m not suggesting that you sell everything except for food and clothing. What I’m suggesting is that we could live a lot more easily, flexibly, and responsively to God’s leading if we learned to be content with less, if we developed the skill of traveling light through this life.
Think of this life as just a weekend getaway compared to eternity. What necessities would you pack for a short trip away from your real home?
1. Clothes. God has promised to clothe us (Matthew 6:30). We are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27). We are told to put on “the new man” (Ephesians 4:24) and the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11).
2. Toiletries. Some things are necessary for daily maintenance, and we have been given plenty: prayer, meditation, Bible study, personal worship, service. We can be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
3. Reading material. This one is obvious—we have the Word of God to serve as a “lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path” (Psalm 119:105).
4. Money. With God owning everything in this world, it is no wonder He has promised to “supply all [our] need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
5. A way to record your experiences. A handwritten journal is a good way to create a “first-person” account of your spiritual journey: “It seemed good to me . . . to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:3).
6. Food. Jesus Himself said that He was the “bread of life” and that those who come to Him “shall never hunger” (John 6:35).
7. Recreation. If we remember what Nehemiah said—“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)—then we will always be refreshed.
The Benefits of Traveling Light
The benefits of traveling light are the same in life as in airports: plenty of time for priorities, responsiveness to changes in direction, and extra resources to share with others. On the other hand, accumulating more stuff than we need—physically, mentally, or emotionally—will only bog us down and keep us from reaching our goals.
Are you going through life with steamer trunks and an entourage? Or have you learned to live out of a carry-on? If you are continually consumed with details about living in this world, perhaps a fresh look at “where you are going and why” is in order. When you answer those two questions, you’ll soon be traveling lighter.