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When it comes to packing for a trip, what kind of packer are you?  Some options:

  • An overpacker.  This is the person who shows up for the weekend getaway with two or more suitcases.  This person is either indecisive (can’t decide which outfit to wear, so I’ll bring all three) or overly cautious (we MIGHT need that, so I’ll throw it in just to be safe.)  The overpackers are tough road trip companions . . . but favorites of airlines everywhere.
  • An underpacker.  This is the person who shows up with only their book bag for the summer trip.  At first glance, they are amazing, a picture of minimalism and good stewardship.  At second glance, they need to stop at Target at least twice on the trip to purchase what they “forgot” to pack.
  • The business packer.  This is the business traveler who does this often.  They have the perfect sized carryon, with four multidirectional wheels.  Inside, their bag they have some kind of compression system on their clothing that allows them to take 7 days worth of essentials PLUS their trade show presentation in one 12 x 12 bag.  Travel tip:  If you are flying always get in line behind these people at the security checkpoint.  They never leave anything in their pockets, have a metal-free belt, and always wear slip on shoes.  Nothing will get you through security faster than staying handcuffed to the business packer.
  • The perfect packer.  This is similar to the business traveler with one notable exception . . . They not only pack for themselves, but they pack for others.  Need a drink of water?  They brought enough for the whole group.  Need sunscreen?  They have three varieties in their carryon for all skin types.  These folks are amazing, and they usually answer to the same name . . . Mom.

Packing for a trip is an interesting art form.  We only take those items from home that we know we will need on our journey.  The nature and duration of the trip determines what we bring and what we leave at home.  That is why we bring our golf clubs on vacation but leave them home when visiting a sick relative in the hospital.  That is why we never ever bring the kitchen sink (regardless of what the overpacker thinks) because we are certain we will never need our kitchen sink while on the trip, regardless of where we are headed.

I was thinking about this reality over the past few months as I have been studying a short letter written by a man named Paul to a particular church in the Asian city of Ephesus during the middle of the first century.  Paul was a man whose life was radically changed by Jesus Christ.  Early in his life, Paul (at that time named Saul) spent his time trying to have Christians arrested or killed because of their belief that Jesus was the Son of God and had been resurrected from the dead.  One day Saul was walking down a road to the city of Damascus when he saw a vision of the resurrected Jesus challenging Saul to forsake his persecuting ways, repent of his sin, and become a follower of Jesus.  Saul did indeed repent, and Jesus changed his name to Paul and sent him on a multi-year trip, telling the non-Jewish world about the reality of the resurrection and the hope that could be found in Jesus.

One of the places Paul traveled to while on this trip was Ephesus.  Paul developed quite a relationship with the people in Ephesus; so much so that these people were on his mind even when he was traveling to different cities around the Mediterranean Sea.  The short letter I referred to earlier is the letter Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians . . . we know this as the Epistle to the Ephesians in the Christian New Testament.

As I contemplated this letter over the past few months, something occurred to me.  In this letter, Paul refers to the “trip” that is the Christian life.  As believers in Jesus, we know that our home is in the heavenly places with Him.  Therefore, our journey here on this earth is a trip that we need to pack for.  What is fascinating about this, though, is that the letter does not tell us what or how to pack for this trip!  Instead the book simply tells us not to worry about that . . . because our Heavenly Father has already packed for us!

The first 3 chapters of Ephesians talk about all that God has packed into our lives for our journey through this life.  The final 3 chapters of the letter help us to see how what God has packed into our lives will be used while we are on this journey . . . in other words, what we are to do with all the stuff He put in our suitcase!

Over the next three months at Wildwood Community Church, I will be preaching a sermon series called “Packed” that will unpack for us the riches God has intentionally placed in our lives.  These blessings that He has folded inside of us are items from our heavenly home that we will need while on this journey.  Join us as we work our way through this book in our 9:30 and 10:50 worship services beginning May 18.

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