In today’s parlance people may be speaking of encumbrances, hindrances or burdens rather than trunks or suitcases when they use the term baggage.  These are things or people that keep them from enjoying a new job, relationship or just peace of mind.  Usually it is some unresolved issue that keeps interfering with the current attempts to “move on.”  Baggage can be either an actual physical hindrance such as a hoarder has or an emotional one like some in the military have that causes frightening flashbacks.  Baggage can be caused by a combination of several issues.  Psychiatrists and psychologists are sometimes consulted to aid patients on how to deal with the guilt that often accompanies the baggage.  However, baggage is not always the result of poor decisions, rather something that may have been inherited through one’s DNA or that which is falsely attributed to one by others.

Jesus actually had some things to say about baggage and why one needs to rid himself of it.  Before sending His apostles out to villages (Mt 10) (Mk 6) (Lk 9) He instructed them to, “…take no money, no extra tunic, no bags and no bread.” His reasoning was, “The worker is worth his keep.” (Mt 10:10)

On another occasion He was approached by a rich young ruler (Mt 19) (Mk 10) (Lk 18) who asked Jesus “…what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  The man seemingly passed the 10 commandment test, but went away sad when he heard that he must sell his possessions and give to the poor (Mt 19:21-22).  He had too much baggage.  But evidently it will only be hard to enter the kingdom of heaven if one clings to his wealth at all costs instead of using it to help the needy.  Joseph of Arimathea and the women who followed Jesus and the apostles used their means to care for the needs of others (Lk 23:50-53) (Mk 15:a40-41) (Lk 8:3).

In our culture with its materialism we can easily be tempted to hold on to baggage both physical and spiritual.  But Christians are called upon to use our possessions to help those in need (1 Jo 3:17).  The very first Christians at the beginning of Christ’s church in Acts 2 certainly did just that.  Getting rid of excess baggage benefits both the giver and the recipient (Heb 12:1).

–Jim Bailey