Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Ritual of Vacation Packing

Tomorrow my wife and I leave for a well-earned vacation.  Getting away from your normal life for a bit helps to put it in perspective.  Some people packs for weeks in planning for vacation.  I tend to get it all done the night before.  I have always been a procrastinator, even in my vacation packing.

It is amazing the process we go through in packing.  It is a bit more streamlined now with the advent of high luggage fees on airlines, but we still tend to pack for just about every possible contingency.  I might go swimming so I need a bathing suit.  It is going to be cold at night, so I need a few warm shirts and some long pants.  It is going to be hot during the day so I need plenty of extra t-shirts so I do not run out of fresh clothes.  I also need my book, my iPod, my noise canceling headphones, my computer, sunscreen, medication, pain medication just in case, and that is just what I can think of off the top of my head.  I imagine I am not alone in my tendency of over prepare.  This also does not include the instructions for those who will look after our condo, check our mail, water our plants, and pick us up at the airport when we return. 

Maybe I am taking a bit of a lead here, but this seems to be the way that we all prepare for eternity.  Maybe we are not quite as elaborate as the ancient Egyptians who made a science out of over packing a Pharaoh for the afterlife, but we do seem to think we can bring it with us even though we know we can not.  We strive our whole lives to amass some bit of a fortune that we can not take with us only to leave it to a group of other people who can not take it with them either.  I am not saying that there is no prudence in saving money for a rainy day.  Even God told Pharaoh through a dream interpreted by Joseph to save the excess of today for the need of tomorrow.  The thing is though, even in that case, the goal was not to save a fortune for fortune's sake, but to save so that all the people would not starve when the hard times come.  God was not telling Pharaoh to be rich on the excess of others, but to save the excess of others so that all might be saved when the famine came.  That is an aside.  The main point is that we should not hoard our stuff.  We are saving our fortunes in futility because we can not take it with us, neither can our descendants.  But it can be used to save people now. 

Not only do we hoard our stuff for an eternal life we can not take it to, but we overspend on our departure. So many leave reams of instruction on how they want to be "properly" buried.  Maybe I am sounding a bit insensitive, but the literal tens of thousands of dollars people spend just to house the empty remains of an earthly vessel can be spent on much better things.  Your place in eternity is not determined by what kind of coffin your spent remains are buried in.  If you are Christian, you are with the Lord.  What does it even matter what is done to that old bag of flesh that was a constant snare to you?  That money can be spent to feed the hungry or spread the Gospel.  Why spend money on death that can otherwise be spent on life?  Why spend so much money on an "eternal" resting place (which is not even accurate) when it can be spent on spreading the message of eternal life? 

Anyway, leaving on vacation as I am, I would much rather end this day on a theme that reflects the joy that I am feeling.  When we leave this earth for our true eternal resting place, we do not need to pack.  We can not bring anything with us and all will be provided for us.  We do not need reservations because Jesus is preparing our mansion that was reserved just for us from before the foundations of the earth.  We do not need an itinerary because we have a forever's worth of time to do things in.  We do not need to deal with the TSA because instead of being on some terrorist watch list we are in the Lamb's Book of Life.  We do not have to worry about how we will get there as the Lord has taken care of all the travel arrangements. 

God bless you all and I look forward to sharing with you the majesty of God's artwork that my wife and I will have the chance to see.
In My Father's house are many mansions; if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, [there] you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.  John 14:2-4 NKJV

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