Signing up for the wooden box was done spur of the moment and sooner than later, it was my week to have it. The idea behind it was prayer. It was a reminder to pray for the specific needs written within and on the front of the box were the following words etched upon it: “…they left everything and followed Him” (Luke 5:28).
While staring at this passage, it stirred memories of my desire to travel this world with merely a backpack of belongings. Thoughts used to enter in about selling all I had and leaving my possessions as I followed Him. Where this might lead was never in the plan…only thoughts that I’d wander the world for Him. Somehow, it felt freeing as I pictured a few simple belongings slung over my shoulder and according to my mind’s eye, people along the route would cough up the food and shelter. After all, why wouldn’t they? Never doubted that for a minute until…
After reflecting upon the words anew, I wondered if having no stuff would actually make my ability to follow any easier. Most certainly it would offer fewer distractions in keeping track of it all, and life would become much more community driven (literally) as I’d have no car!
Following is an interesting concept. Most of us have followed many people in our lives only to find ourselves with the latest and greatest gadgets recommended by them. Whether it’s décor within our homes or purchasing a new wardrobe, there’s always something fun out there to get and there is no shortage of those who lead us down those paths. I don’t suppose there’s anything wrong with any of it…it’s just that it doesn’t’ seem to bear much fruit other than a temporary lift here and there and goodness knows we all need that from time to time.
After thinking this through, I came to the conclusion that leaving behind my stuff might make me more dependent upon others to do the providing. So, as I began to wonder what would actually free me up to better follow Him, a list started forming rather quickly.
1. Leave fear.
2. Leave lack of trust.
3. Leave anger.
4. Leave false gods—all idols taking time away time from Him.
5. Leave behind complaining to others and GO directly to Him.
6. Leave sloth-like behavior.
7. Leave my own needs needing to be met over the needs of others.
8. Leave bickering in any form or ill thoughts when others provoke.
9. Leave disobedience.
10. Leave the calendar filled with everything and anything but time for Him.
And those are just a few. Matthew 16:24 says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Denying self isn’t without sacrifice. The Cross is a gamechanger, but it’s not without cost. It cost Him His very life as He died to self for you…for me. May we begin to pray to better hear what He’s asking us to lay down in order to follow. Amen.
Kathleen Kjolhaug, OblSB
This article was first published in Theology in the Trenches, a column written by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Posted with permission. Read more articles on her blog, Theology in the Trenches.