“WISDOM OF LIVING (31) BAGGAGE”                         Pastor YAU

Text: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27                                                  July 31, 2005

 

INTRODUCTION:

      1) A sad story: In 1845 the ill-fated Franklin Expedition sailed from England to find a passage across the Arctic Ocean.

     The crew loaded their two sailing ships with a lot of things they didn’t need: a 1,200 volume library, fine china, crystal goblets and sterling silverware for each of the officers with their initials engraved on the handles. Amazingly, each ship took only a 12 day supply of coal for their steam engine.

     The ship became trapped in vast plains of ice. After several months, Lord Franklin died. The rest of the men decided to trek to safety in small groups, but none of them survived.

     One story is especially heart-breaking. Two officers pulled a large sled more than 65 miles across the treacherous ice. When rescuers found their bodies, they also found that the sled was filled with table silver.

     2) What to carry for a trip: Many of us have difficulty in deciding what to carry on a trip long or short. While some may advocate and practice the benefits of travel-light, many people still pack their baggage things they never need nor use. Some even pack things they don’t need but forget to bring what they do need. It takes certain measures of wisdom to choose the right things to carry when you are planning for a trip.

     3) The journey of life: If life is a journey and heaven is your destination, it is important to choose and pick the right things you may carry. Packing the appropriate things in your baggage for the life journey is both an act of wisdom and necessity.

 

WHY CARRY EXCESSIVE BAGGAGE?  Carrying more than we need on a trip is a common practice for many travelers since the beginning of time. Many people either packed too many things or things they never need. Excessive baggage is a problem for travelers and many still do just that but why?

1)    We just have too many things:  People bring many things on trips because they have too many things at home. We can’t bring things we don’t have. Excessive possession is the primary cause of excessive baggage. Too often, we hear people complain that they have nothing to wear facing a wardrobe of clothing. We just have too many and too much.

2)    We forget that it is only a trip: Many travelers mistaking a trip as a move or relocation. They pack everything they can see and find around the house like they are moving to a new home. They want to enjoy as much convenience on the trip as they have at home. They have lost the sense or purpose of traveling.

3)    We mix up the priority: Either your trip is a cruise or sight seeing, a tour or a study, a conference or just for leisure, the purpose of your trip should be the primary concern much more than packing and carrying all the things you think you may need. When you place your primary concern of a trip on bringing more and more baggage, you lost the sense of priority and the meaning and benefits of the trip.

4)    We are uncertain and insecure: Some who like to bring so much on trips because they are afraid they may miss something they may need. These people do not have the ability of foreseeing things and don’t know what to do if they miss something. They will feel much more secured to be surrounded by so many things even knowing that much of the baggage they may never touch.

 

WHAT IS YOUR EXCESSIVE BAGGAGE? Few people have the same excessive baggage but they all have too much to carry. If we truly know that we are here on earth as sojourns or travelers and our final destination is heaven, we may need to see that some of the things we treasure so much are in fact excessive baggage we don’t really need.

1)     We just have too much to carry?. Except in rare cases, most people have too much for their lives to the point that they may never or seldom use some of the things they have accumulated. Material possessions, monies, rooms in their houses, junk in the garage, just to list a few. They own, they keep, they pile up but they don’t need. This is excessive baggage.

2)     We have too many things to worry: Because we are all human and are finite, we don’t know what may happy tomorrow or the day after. Many people carry worries each and everyday of their life and drag on day after day in heavy steps that they never know what it is to live life with joy and peace. This is excessive baggage.

3)     We have a value problem: A story tells like this: “A man carried a heavy load on his way to heaven. When he arrived at the gate, he was exhausted and looked like half death. The angel asked what it was in the bag. The man said it was gold, the most precious metal on earth. The angel said, “No, these are just dirt up here. We use them to path streets.” We carry loads like fame, status, position, prestige, how others may look at us, etc. We think they are so important, but they are nothing in the place where we all are going.

4)     We carry too many sins around:  Too many Christians feel the road to heaven is so steep and hard to travel because they have heavy loads of sin never confessed and forgiven. Sin is like a snare which may trap us into and slows or stops us from progressing in our Christian journey to heaven. The Bible says: “Let us throw off everything that hinders and sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race.” (Hebrews 12:1)

 

WHAT HARM COULD EXCESSIVE BAGGAGE DO TO US? 

1)     They could waste our energy unnecessarily: Too often people who have excessive baggage are more exhausted when they travel or arrive at their destination because of the energy it takes to care for them. They suppose to use their energy to enjoy the trip, the sights and sounds of the new surroundings, but they have to use so much energy to take care of those unwanted and un-needed baggage.

2)     They could create trouble and make trips more complicated: Travel light is popular because it cuts out lots of trouble from taking care of excessive baggage. Over sized, over weight and too much baggage are common problems for those who want to travel with their house around them. This certainly reduces the joy of the trip.

3)     They could slow you down from your progress: Especially if you are going to heaven, unnecessary or excessive baggage surely will slow you down from your spiritual growth. They certainly drain your energy from producing more spiritual fruits. When excessive baggage occupies your attention so much, you have lost your focus of pursuit and may be lost in the world of care.

4)     They could prevent you from eternal life: Such as in the story in the introduction two men died because they carried unnecessary loads which eventually prevented them from reaching rescuers. Too many people may lose their precious opportunity of salvation and eternal life because they have too much to carry and worry. This is the ultimate loss in anyone’s life. No matter what may be in that excessive baggage, they are of no value in the eyes of God.

 

HOW TO GET RID OF EXCESSIVE BAGGAGE: 

1)   Be determined to travel light:  This is the first and most important step: your mindset: do not be tangled up by excessive baggage. Once you set that in your mind, you will be careful and selective to choose and pick what are the really needed items to carry. You need to set in your mind: lesser is better. You are taking a trip, not moving to a new home. We are not going to stay in this world forever. There is no need to have so much on your trip to heaven.

2)   Be focused on your productivity: It is the trip, the journey, you are taking, not the baggage. God has placed us in this world for to be His witnesses so others may find eternal life through our daily life and testimonies. Be mindful of the level of your productivity and effectiveness. You can’t afford to lose time or energy in managing the excessive baggage.  

3)   Be careful on true values: Many travelers spend a lot in buying merchandize and souvenirs to fill their bags to the maximum just to find out that they are of little or no use a week after they have returned home. Allowing excitement or impulse to control your appetite of buying is a foolish practice in travel. So many things we value so much here on earth turn out to be useless or valueless when we get to heaven. Be spiritually wise when choosing what to obtain and keep that are of real values. Apostle Paul has a list of suggestions in Philippians 4:8-9. Look it up and learn something.

4)   Store your baggage up there:  Jesus has so much to say about storing our treasures in heaven in Matthew 6:19-21. All that you store in heaven is going to be yours forever without any risk. All that you may accumulate here on earth is going to stay here when you are ready to depart. Be wise to store what you have in the most secured place. Bring all of them to God, God’s church and God’s ministry.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)     Life is like a journey, a trip. It has a beginning and an end. How you manage your trip can determine how effective and rewarding or what a mess and waste of time. The choice is yours. Be wise and be careful. You only live once.

2)     Focus on the purpose God has given you a purpose to live here on earth. Don’t let anything or anyone slow you down or mess you up that you may regret at the end of your journey. Let nothing entangle you from being productive and effective. Get rid of all the unwanted or excessive baggage so you may grow fast and become more useful in the eyes of God.

3)     Be prepared for arrival at the end of your life. Make sure you have a place to go to be with God in heaven. Accept His invitation today to become His child so you are sure of an eternal home you may go to when you finish the journey on earth.