Lightening My Load

Here's what I have:

  • Two car keys with the remotes attached.  
  • Three PO Box keys for our personal box, the church box, and the Lions Club box.  
  • Church front door key.  
  • Church office key.  
  • Church lock-box key.   
  • Home front door key.  
  • Keyring flashlight.  

That's 10 keys and one flashlight.

That's what I have on my

Last week I realized that the number of keys I was carrying around seemed a bit excessive.  It was something that had happened over time.  Every day when I leave the house, I do the ceremonial "pocket check" making sure I have my wallet, my phone, and my keys.

Back left pocket. Wallet.  Check.
Front left pocket.  Phone.  Check.
Front right pocket.  Keys,  Check.

It was that right front pocket check that got my attention.  In addition to all of those things listed above I had the following:

  • Key to the old church that I rarely use.
  • A key to the padlock we had on the church during construction and haven't used in over two years.
  • A flashlight that didn't work and I had just forgotten to take off.
  • And about four keys that went to unknown doors and locks but I probably just kept on there because I was sure I might need them at some point.

It wasn't until I threw my keys down on the desk at church that I noticed.  Sitting there against the wood top of the desk, it sure looked like I had a whole lot of keys.  Why was I carrying around all of that unneeded stuff.  That's a lot for a front pocket.  We don't have a huge church or anything.  There's no reason I should have to carry around all of this.

Now, I can't tell you why I started carrying around unneeded keys.  There probably was a good reason for them at some point.  But as the need for them passed, I was too lazy to even think about getting rid of them or storing them somewhere else to pull out only when needed.  But I can tell you what a difference this makes to my front right pocket. 

This is just a silly little example about my keys. But think for a second about all the other stuff that we pile up in life, that weighs us down, and we never let go of.

Material things are a great example of this.  When we have TV shows that talk about hoarders (no, I've never seen it) and pawn shops, perhaps we have a problem here.

But it goes beyond material things to the emotional, the psychological, and the spiritual as well.  Think of all the pain or griefs that we let weigh us down, never finding a way to free us from that burden.  Think of the weight of sin, that we can't seem to run from and never get released from by an acceptance of forgiveness and a change in behavior.  Think of the relationships we try to hold onto even thought they keep us from being the people we were intended to be.  Sometimes the very people we hold onto most tightly are the ones keep us from being truly free.

With my keys it was easy.  Realize the burden they've become.  Sit down in my office chair and take away the stuff I didn't need.

With those emotional, psychological, and spiritual issues, it's more difficult.

But I do know we have a God who wants us to be free from our burdens and to take a load off.

This is what Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV):

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Here's how Peterson's The Message puts it:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

I want to live into that easy yoke and light burden today.

The keychain was just a start.

Now for the rest of my life.