Is your suitcase packed with worries?

By Vinal Van Benthem | For The Compass | February 24, 2017

If the commandments are our road map and being holy is our destination, then maybe this week’s readings are intended to tell us what to pack for the trip. Today, some suitcases actually have built-in scales to help us keep within weight limits for checked luggage. But now, when many of the airlines are starting to charge extra, even for the overhead storage area, most of us have pared down our travel needs to the barest necessities. This week’s readings invite us to do the same thing, not just when we travel by plane but, more importantly, as we travel through life.

Is your suitcase stuffed with worry about your job? Nationally, unemployment rates are at an all-time low. But even though they may be working today, many factory workers are concerned about their jobs being taken over by robots tomorrow. Human Resource professionals know that it’s not enough to just encourage these individuals to stop worrying and to trust that God has given them what they need to find another job. Job seekers need help with things like resume preparation and job interview skills so that they can use their God-given talents in an ever-evolving workplace rather than slipping into the depression to which worry so often leads.

Is your suitcase stuffed with worry about what to wear? Recently my beloved Chicago Cubs (yes, even though I’ve lived in Wisconsin since 2000 I’m still loyal to my Cubbies) broke a decades-old curse and won the World Series. T-shirt manufacturers had shirts made up for both teams. What to do with the ones designed for the losing team? Buy the shirts and ship them to children in a third world country so that they might have something to wear? Sell or recycle them locally and use the money for mosquito nets and medicines? Both, perhaps? “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Mt 6:24-34)
God promises to give us what we need. We’ve got the directions. We know where we’re supposed to be going. The question is, are we willing to let God pack our suitcase?

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister in the Diocese of Green Bay.

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