A monthly column by farmer, preacher and writer for Jesus, Angus Buchan
If we look at the book of Acts 27:13-18 (NKJV), we will see that Paul and the mariners, and the other passengers got caught in a terrible tempest-tossed storm. It became so bad that on the second and third day, they started to throw all their excess baggage overboard to lighten the ship. On the third day they even threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. This was so that the ship would not sink.
You and I need to lighten our load. Many of us are carrying excess baggage, it is wearing us down we are working ourselves to a standstill for things that we don’t even need.
I know people in the first world nations that are holding two and sometimes even three jobs down at one time so they can pay all the accounts that they have got by buying excess commodities; like that guest house down by the coast, like the extra ski-boat, like the motorcar that they don’t really need, like furniture that is just sitting there but never ever used.
We need to lighten the load. I remember distinctly staying in a beautiful home in Johannesburg some years back the maid in the home told me that this was her house with a big smile on her face, because the man and the lady that owned the house are never ever here. They are working seven days a week to try and pay off this massive mansion with a tennis court and a swimming pool and stables, but they are never ever there. They spend maybe half a day on a Sunday at the house and that’s about it and the maid has the whole house and all the accessories to herself. It’s actually quite sad when you think about it. We need to cut our cloth according to our pockets. I think we’ve heard that before and in the case of Paul the apostle, he advised the captain of the ship to lighten the load so that they would actually make it. Sometimes it is very hard especially when it is commodities that you’ve worked for.
I remember distinctly in my early days of farming, I had built up a very nice herd of beef cattle and we came upon hard times, probably drought. We had to sell the whole herd of cattle in order to keep the farm solvent, it broke our hearts. I remember my two sons and myself we could not load the cattle ourselves for we knew the animals intimately. We had to ask our neighbours to load the cattle when we sold them.
Another year we had a beautiful plantation of pine trees they were thirteen years old, just starting to come into their own, and we had to clear fell and cut the whole plantation down for pulpwood which is the cheapest and the most ineffective way of selling timber, instead of leaving it until it was 30 years old where it would have literally been green gold, but we did it so that we could still be on the farm and by the grace of God we are still there today.
I want to encourage you to lighten the load. Jesus says in 1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV) “7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Those cares are sometimes self-inflicted. We need to get rid of the stuff we don’t need. The Lord says to us in Matthew 11:29-30 (NKJV) “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Many of us are carrying burdens that we don’t actually need, and we are reluctant to lay them down for whatever reason. Maybe there’s some pride involved, maybe it’s because of sentimental value, but that has to be put aside. The Lord says in Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) “3But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Lighten the load.