I’ve heard that for every pound you lose, you’ll run about two seconds faster per mile.  That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you shed just 3 pounds, you’ll shave roughly 2 ½ minutes off your marathon time.  For runners shooting for a PR or a qualifying time, that’s a big deal.  I also heard runners consume oxygen less efficiently as more mass is added to their feet.  Maybe I should start choosing my running shoes based on weight instead of color, style, and cushioning.  I haven’t tested those conclusions, but it makes sense that a lighter load makes for a faster go.

He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts… Mark 6:8

No bag?  Jesus sent His disciples out, two by two, to preach the gospel … and He instructed them to take no bag?  That scripture hit me between the eyes.  I typically carry a bag the size of my 3-year-old, and I like it.  It weighs me down, but I feel secure with all my stuff.  That is a problem, but an even bigger issue is I have a multitude of bags because I tire of each one quickly – no matter how timeless it was when purchased.  Mark’s scripture is loaded with great messages … “God will provide”, “trust in Him”, “it doesn’t take much to spread God’s word”, and “don’t be burdened by want for material things” … and that’s only a start.  We know we can’t take our things with us when we meet God face to face, but we still get distracted by all the goods available and the money to be made, saved, and spent.  They’re alluring, and they offer peace, comfort, and happiness – but, only temporarily.  Their offerings eventually fade, creating a void which must be filled by more of the same.  And, when it’s our time to leave this world, they’re gone – “poof” – all the items, cars, houses, retirement plans, and bank accounts for which we’ve worked.  Material items themselves aren’t bad.  They’re useful, and some of them are necessary.  But, when we put our trust, hope and happiness in them, they weigh us down with disappointment and a continual need for more.  The burdens distract us from God and slow our journey toward Him.  Once we release ourselves, however, we’ll be lighter on our feet and faster to turn to Him.  We don’t need much to spread His love – just a staff, perhaps, to maintain a good pace.  His promises won’t disappoint, His love for us never fades, and He has little interest in the possessions we amass – only whether they distract us from Him.  My latest handbag purchase was rationalized as “blog research” – as if the last several purchases didn’t provide enough data – and I can’t believe I’m admitting it.  The good news is I can’t stoop any lower than that and the bag’s big enough to hold a Bible – a few in fact, and in that case, the more weight the better.

Dear God, please help us remember You will provide everything we need and help us not be distracted from You by our desires for the material things of this world.