Day 102: April 12, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 9:35-38 Read Online
Matthew 10 Read Online
Matthew 11:1 Read Online
Mark 6:6b-13 Read Online
Luke 9:1-6 Read Online


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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted.

—Matthew 10:29-30

Travel Lightly
by Lauren O'Neill, Senior Adult and Congregational Care Assistant, Brentwood Campus

Each time I’m about to embark on a journey, one of my favorite parts of the preparation process is packing my suitcase. I enjoy gathering together all the things I think I may need as I travel—that favorite pair of shoes, those printed copies of my hotel confirmations, my travel-size shampoo and conditioner. I get it all together, and I’m ready to go.

As an adult, I’ve learned there’s something about this process that lends me a sense of security—it’s an assurance I’ve planned and prepared for any situation that may arise along my journey. Somehow, those little things packed away in my suitcase begin to represent more than shoes and shampoo—they begin to represent security. Safety. Self-sufficiency.

Jesus knows the way I think—the way all of us, as humans, think. He shows us in Scripture that He understands how quickly we cling to things other than Him—things that distract us, slow us down, or we feel will provide us security. Whether it’s physical things that we cling to, or metaphysical things, such as our trust in our work ethic or our ability to understand people, we’re prone to take things along with us that we were never meant to.

In each of today’s Scripture passages, Jesus encourages His disciples to travel lightly, to take nothing with them as they travel and proclaim the message of Christ to the people. “Take nothing for the road…no walking stick, no traveling bag, no bread, no money; and don’t take an extra shirt” (Luke 9:3). He directs them to stay in houses of those who are worthy along the way, and to place themselves at the mercy of that household’s hospitality.

In modern terms, Jesus’ disciples weren’t able to book their hotels in advance. They had no idea where they’d rest their heads at night. They had no money in their pockets. They didn’t know where their next meal would come from. And they were fully dependent upon the provision of God for their most basic needs (see Matthew 9:5-15).

By instructing them to leave all these things behind, Jesus was simply encouraging them to trust in Him alone, to rely fully upon Him as the provider of their needs, to keep nothing for themselves that could sustain them except for His power and presence.

In my own life, I sometimes find myself trusting other things or people rather than Christ to provide that assurance and security that all my needs will be met. I pack self-sufficiencies and other things into the suitcase of my heart every single day in an effort to be prepared for whatever journey I’m on.

Whether it’s into a new season of life, or into a specific situation at work, or inside a particular relationship, sometimes I forget that Christ calls me to travel lightly as well—to bring nothing with me—and to trust in Him fully as the satisfier and supplier of my needs.

Jesus encouraged His disciples with the following words as He sent them on their way, to preach the gospel. Although my daily circumstances may look different than theirs, Jesus encourages me with these same words as well: “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted” (Matthew 10:29-30).

The same Jesus who set His 12 disciples on the path to preach the gospel more than 2,000 years ago still sets each of us on individual journeys to preach His love today. And as we walk, wander, run, and move, He calls us to trust Him fully and to leave all our packed suitcases behind.

He’s sufficient to provide for our needs. And because He is, we can travel lightly.

Reflection Questions

  1. In Matthew 10, the 12 disciples were commissioned on a journey to preach the news of Christ to the Jews. They were instructed what to bring with them, and what to leave behind, in verses 9-14. If you take a look into your own life today, where is Jesus commissioning you to journey this week? This year?
  2. What types of things might He encourage you to leave behind as you travel?
  3. Jesus explained many ways He would provide for the disciples while they were preaching the gospel. What were some of those things? Look beyond the obvious. How would God provide for their hearts, as well as for their physical needs?
  4. How has God provided for you lately? Where have you seen His provision in your life this past year?

About the Author

Lauren O'Neill
» Blog/Website

Lauren O’Neill serves at Brentwood Baptist as an Administrative Assistant to the Senior Adult and Congregational Care ministers. Working behind the scenes is often her preferred place of ministry, but she’s also had plenty of time in the spotlight as a Christian singer/songwriter and worship leader—all before getting married and moving to Franklin with her husband Tim in 2011. In her free moments, she’s inevitably found reading a book, writing, or playing piano—with a glass of iced coffee close beside her. Her passions include teaching and studying the written Word, music, and traveling. She dreams of authoring a children’s book some day. You can read some of her writings at laurennoneill.blogspot.com.