Packing for Eternity

Spiritual Packing ListThis summer at our house has been one big blur of moving in and moving out, packing and unpacking.  Our son moved home from college.  A couple of weeks later, our daughter graduated from college and moved home for the summer.  A couple of weeks later, our son moved away for the summer.  Then, a month after that, my husband and I went on a two and a half week trip.  A couple of weeks later, our son moved home again.  And a couple of days later, our daughter moved out.  Then, a couple of weeks after that, our son moved into a new college residence…. Whew!   My home, for three months, has been “decorated” with suitcases, boxes, and bins.

The conversations in our home reflected these transitions.  It was a summer of questions.  There were questions about packing.  What do I need to take?  Will I ever wear this?  Is this too heavy?  Can I live without this?  And, there were deeper questions.  Where are you going?   How long will you stay?  What are you going to do?  Why?  What  does the future hold?  During one of these discussions about the future, a very wise person said to me, “I am going to seek the things which are above, and see where that leads.”    This wise person does not know precisely what the future holds, how exactly she will live, or where she will ultimately end up.  But, she knows the truth from Colossians 3 that should underlie all decision making for followers of Christ.

Maybe I am influenced by our summer of moves, but as I read Colossians chapter 3, I see a spiritual journey planner–a heavenly “trip-it”, if you will.

  1.  Reason for travel            Verses 1-3          Seek the things which are above
  2. Destination                       Verse 4                Appear with Christ in glory
  3. Mode of Travel                 Verse 7                Walking
  4. Banned Items                   Verses 5-9          Old self/ evil practices
  5. Packing list                        Verses 10-17      New spiritual clothes to put on
  6. Code of Conduct              Verses 18-22      Proper travel behaviors
  7. Ultimate Outcome           Verse 24             Receive from the Lord the reward

Of special interest to me were the items to “put-on” and “put-off”.  We are walking on this trip through life.  We don’t have a baggage allowance other than what we wear.  Did you ever go out for a hike on a  cool  morning, dressed very heavily, but soon the sun came out and made it too warm for your layers?  What a burden it is to carry the extra weight of un-useful, unwanted items.  On our spiritual walk, all the sins from our old self such as anger, immorality, greed, and dishonesty weigh us down.  They are of no use to us in seeking the things which are above.  Carting the things of our old self around is like taking our refrigerator on a backpacking trip.

However, the Christian has so many wonderful new things to put on that are not just helpful, but absolutely essential in this trek.  Among them are unity, compassion, humility, patience, forgiveness, love, and peace.  This comprises the proper clothing and equipment necessary for a successful trip to our destination with Christ in glory.

The wise person that I mentioned above is my beloved daughter.  She is even now in the process of a move to another country to minister in a way that she feels called of God.  She has pared down her “needs” to one suitcase and a guitar.  She is spending her savings to minister.  She is trusting the Lord.  I am so proud of her.

But, wherever God puts us here on earth, we should all take a moment to look at our spiritual itinerary and make sure we are seeking the things which are above.  Then, we need to re-pack our luggage.   We need to throw out of our suitcase all the “old clothes” of our sin, and make sure that we are only taking our spiritual “new clothes” for this trip.

Colossians Chapter 3

Would you like to teach Colossians 3 this way to children?  Why not use this Suitcase craft  that I designed for this lesson?

Encourage Me Monday linkup

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Packing for Eternity”

  1. Ooh, I like this! A spiritual journey planner. I will pass your link along when I get done commenting here. 🙂 It reminds me of a game I like to play with my children (or anyone else who would like to — it’s a fun challenge!), a variation of “I’m Going on a Trip” that I made up. I’ll share a link here in case you might like to see: http://hastenhome.com/for-children/something-for-the-children-5/

    I can relate fairly well to your situation right now, with all the moving in and moving out, and moving on. This past year has been a lot of transition and re-transition for our family, too. College and out-of-town jobs, and missionary trips, and… 🙂 Blessings to you and your family, Kathleen!

  2. Sheila,
    Thanks for your comment. I love your game! It does go perfectly with this idea of what we can and can’t take with us on our spiritual journey. Blessings to you, too!

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