Pack Lightly…It’s a Short Trip! | July 9th, 2018
Every year, my husband, Michael, and I make it a priority to take a vacation far away from home for at least a week. I look so forward to getting away from all the stresses of life, having time to clear my mind and allowing my body to melt into much-needed rest and relaxation. However, I do not look forward to packing my suitcase which is, of course, a definite necessity for the trip.
I start packing a week in advance because I know how long it takes me to “pack lightly” as Michael often reminds me to do during this challenging process. That is the goal, an admirable one to be sure, but it seems to be a struggle for me every time. As hard as I try to limit myself, there are always things I have packed that I never end up using on the trip. I definitely fall short of the goal to pack lightly!
Two years ago, we began the long, three-month process of moving into our new home. We had the liberty to slowly go through every item we owned and give away anything that we felt was not absolutely necessary to keep. We filled our garage and several truckloads of things that no longer had a purpose for our lives and experienced great joy giving to many people in need. As I prepared for the move, I was continually reminded of Michael’s words: “Pack lightly!”
Invest in the Kingdom
Life is a short trip compared to eternity, but we spend so much of our precious, limited time “packing” for it. Hours of our lives are spent working hard to buy so many unnecessary things we think we might need for this trip called life, but they have no eternal value. We collect, store, and hoard meaningless items that simply gather dust and are rarely used. They might bring us a bit of happiness during the moment we first purchase them, but that quickly wears off and simply does not last.
Jesus knew this when He taught about worldly riches…
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Learning to pack lightly in this life provides so much freedom to spend more of your time and money on that which has eternal value, a wise investment in the kingdom of heaven.
Find a Passion with Eternal Value
I have found several worthy organizations that I am quite passionate about which have a true kingdom focus. Several of those I love to support include the pro-life group Human Coalition, the homeless recovery program Dallas Life, the pregnancy resource center Thrive Women’s Clinic, the missions organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world Voice of the Martyrs, and a wonderful ministry in Dallas called Exodus whose mission statement is to empower formerly incarcerated mothers and their children to achieve a productive and fulfilling life through Jesus Christ.
One other organization I am very passionate about is Recycled Pomeranians who rescued my little fur baby, Emma, from a rundown puppy mill so I could have the opportunity to adopt her.
Now, you might be wondering what kind of eternal value can be found in supporting a dog rescue organization but believe me, there is plenty! This story is one of many beautiful examples…
Pathways to Hope
In 1981, a woman named Sister Pauline Quinn began the first dog training program for prison rehabilitation called Pathways to Hope, believing it would offer inmates renewed hope through the love of animals as she had experienced for herself.
Throughout her life, she was abused and tortured and thrown into 14 different institutions 36 times. When she was released, she lived on the streets and found a stray German Shepherd. She named the dog Joni and took care of her as her own. Joni helped her start the first of many prison dog training programs.
Here are a couple of touching quotes from Quinn’s experience with her German Shepherd…
“Through Joni, I learned about God’s love. She helped me build my self-esteem.”
“Dogs love us unconditionally, and people need that — especially people who are wounded, they need to feel loved. So the dog is very much a healing tool.”
Find what you are passionate about – something that has eternal value to give of your time and money. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!
You are Held Accountable
There is another very good reason to invest in that which has eternal value. When you leave your earthly home, you will have to stand before God, giving an account of yourself to Him including your thoughts, words, and actions. Also, in the way your time, treasure, and talents have been spent and used for the glory of God and for the good of others.
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Romans 14:12
Whatever it is for which you spend hours of your life working hard, saving up, and buying for yourself here on earth, it will always pale in comparison to anything you will have in your eternal Home in heaven. Instead, why not focus your time and energy on the things that have kingdom value and will give you true fulfillment?
Leaving it All Behind
When my precious mother passed away in March of 2012 from breast cancer, it struck me that she did not take a single thing with her from here. Not the lovely decorations in her home, not her hard-earned diplomas, not her favorite outfit or most treasured piece of jewelry, and not even a single gift I gave her for the many wonderful birthdays and holidays we celebrated together. It was ALL left behind.
After she abandoned everything here on earth taking nothing with her, I began to wonder, What was awaiting her when she got to heaven to take the place of her earthly treasures?
Water of Life
The Apostle John was given a vision of the incredible beauty of the new heaven and new earth, also called the Holy City or the New Jerusalem. It is described for us in the Bible in the book of Revelation throughout chapters 21 and 22.
The description of this magnificent eternal destination for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior was my inspiration for creating a line of bracelets I called my Kingdom Collection.
In addition to the twelve gemstone bracelets I designed representing the foundations of the wall of the city and a pearl bracelet representing the pearl gates, I added one more to the collection called Water of Life:
It is made of quartz crystal gemstone beads and is based on Revelation 22:1-2a:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.
Your Calling for the Kingdom
Clear as crystal. If only our understanding of the reasons why God asks us to do certain things for His kingdom was always that clear! Using your time, treasure, and talents in the way He has called you may require a lot of hard work and effort without much, if any, gratitude from others.
You might even find yourself questioning whether you are doing any good for anyone, especially if you cannot see the harvest from your labor. Perhaps you may never see that harvest while you are still here on earth. But it is always a wise investment to allow God to use you for His highest purposes and to listen to His calling. Aside from that, there is nothing you can experience or buy in this life, no matter how fabulous it may seem at the time, to bring you true fulfillment.
How wonderful to know there will be no need to go through the stressful challenge of packing a suitcase for our final destination as it will all stay behind. I can tell you, that is a big relief for me! Jesus has everything we will ever need, ready and waiting for our arrival.
As we are continually pulled by all the enticing pleasures and treasures this world has to offer, it may be difficult for us to comprehend the value of packing lightly, continually investing in that which truly matters for eternity. But the moment we step into our magnificent Home in heaven, it will all become like the flowing river of the water of life…clear as crystal.
Sparkler #1: Prayer
Ask God to help you pack lightly for this life, focusing your efforts on that which has eternal value rather than on striving for meaningless things that only offer temporary, earthly value.
Sparkler #2: Action
Find an organization with a kingdom focus that you can be passionate about where you can give of your time and money to glorify God.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Make it a priority to honor God and bless others with all of your thoughts, words, actions, time, treasure, and talents.
*Click here to read more about Sister Pauline Quinn’s incredible story
*Sister Pauline Quinn photo by Steve Wideman | For The Compass
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