Sad news greeted me a few weeks ago through a friend who works for the airline industry. The days of unlimited baggage are coming to a close. From now on we get one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person. If you can't contain yourself in that amount of space you will have the option to pay for additional bags.

Perhaps you have already been put in your place regarding your packing practices by the fifty pound weight restriction I first encountered preparing for my last flight. While surprised air travel had come to this, I really couldn't complain too much: I'd once recovered a suitcase at baggage claim wrapped in bright yellow caution tape announcing, "HEAVY LOAD - LIFTING ASSISTANCE RECOMMENDED." So, it's fair to say I helped put that policy in place and may have even been the poster child for the corporate discussions that cemented the deal.

Despite my past as an over-packer, someone who created and lived by the creed, "If you think you may need it, bring it; if you don't have room, bring another suitcase," I was ready to turn over a new leaf even before I heard the airlines had beat me to the punch. After all, it makes sense that less weight in the plane reduces the fuel draw and therefore supports caring for the environment. From an economic standpoint it also makes sense that the people who feel a need to bring extra should pay extra instead of all of us bearing the burden for a few.

There is also a theological notion to this idea of traveling lightly. Luke's gospel tells us that, "Jesus said to the disciples, 'When I sent you out without a purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?' They said, 'No, not a thing (Luke 22:35)."

I could learn some serious packing skills from these folks.

What to wear, what shoes will look best with what outfit and be comfortable for anticipated activities all figure into my choices about what I will bring because I like to have choices when I arrive. If I forget a few things or don't plan ahead properly I feel as though I won't be comfortable the whole time I am away. But reading those few words exchanged between Jesus and his disciples has already relieved me of some deeply-felt need to make sure I have what I need when I arrive at my destination. Because if the disciples were sent out with everything they needed to do their work and live their lives, why would I be treated any differently?

Attracting and manifesting abundance continues to be a hot topic. I believe many people still equate abundance with material wealth and all its perceived pleasure and security. Abundance as a spiritual concept is so much more than things and striving for more things. Security is a larger concept than financial accumulations that we feel will give us freedom and protect us from the world's catastrophes. Jesus' words to his disciples implore us to remember that we are whole, just as we were created, and that we lack nothing when we go into the world in service to God and our community. We already have everything we need.

Equally so, I am humbled by this exchange between teacher and students. My guess is the field trip on which Jesus sent his followers was designed to empower them, to reveal to them just how much God had invested in them as they were out and about assisting people they met in the most miraculous of ways. The disciples weren't able to preach, teach, inspire, or heal people because they traveled with the right clothing, shoes, accessories or hair care products. They weren't successful in helping those they met on their journey because they carried large sums of money to ease people's financial burdens.

The disciples were successful in doing these practical aspects of ministry Jesus had taught them by example and instruction because, consciously or unconsciously, because they relied on their wholeness in God. Any good coach will tell you that they are only passing on the tools they have used for themselves to those who already have the answers to their own questions inside of themselves. Jesus was a very good coach who then reminded these people closest to him on their return that they had relied very well on themselves and their faith. It was traveling lightly, not bringing excess, unnecessary religious baggage along that allowed Jesus to touch so many lives in such a short time. The same could be said for the disciples as they learned what they would need to know in order to continue Jesus' work after he had left them.

And so, we need to ask ourselves what it means for us to travel lightly as we live our lives each day. What can we let go of that hinders our personal growth or perhaps denies us our hope and faith in the future? What old patterns limit us from being our truly whole selves? Are we carrying so much extra, unnecessary stuff along that we are paying too heavy a price from which we could release ourselves?

My new packing creed is, "Think twice, pack once." Much shorter and easier, and I think my back will appreciate the lighter load.

Author's Bio: 

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay with a double major in Communication and the Arts and Social Change and Development and a minor in Women's Studies, was ordained into the ministry of the Moravian Church in North America after completing her Master of Divinity degree studies through Moravian Theological Seminary. Over twenty-five years of experience in individual and community ministries gives Rev. Kemp an informed perception about faith, its implications and struggles in everyday life. Rev. Kemp focuses her work on helping people understand their faith and how faith can become transformational in their lives. Bring authentic, meaningful faith into your daily life by visiting and downloading your complimentary copy of the new Special Report, "7 Ways To Bring Authentic, Meaningful Faith Into Your Daily Life."