You are ready.
You approach Jesus with a heady mixture of humility and pride. You are chosen. Your longing has urged you to this place. He is sending you out to do His work. You pinch yourself. It is all you’ve ever wanted. It’s what you’re made for. You’re gonna make your mama proud.
He briefs you and the others for the work, and His instructions sound simple enough. “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in the money belt. Wear sandals, but not two tunics.”
You look around at the others. All of you have bags. Some of you have nice ones--calfskin, hand tooled, and one of a kind. Hey, isn’t that one over there Versace?
You look at your own bag. It’s fairly humble, but reflective of your quirky personality. You’ve carried it a long time. It’s your bag of tricks really, safely housing all the manipulations in your arsenal. It has been your security and defense. It holds your masks, and everything that makes you feel beautiful, fun, charming, desirable, talented, ambitious, and intelligent. It’s got your writing in it.
But you can’t take it with you.
You start to hyperventilate at the thought.
You reach into the pocket of your outer tunic, and pull out the package of Hostess hohos you’re packing. This kind of surrender calls for chocolate and cream filling, and you stuff one into your mouth, feeling miserable. Jesus just said you couldn’t take any bread, and you’re thinking He ain’t talking about a low carb diet. Doesn’t He know that everybody needs a little stash for those hungry, hungry days, and those nights, when bread alone seems like all you live by.
You look around, and notice your fellow travelers are stripping. The tunic thing. Of course you are wearing two. You’ve lost 40 lbs, and though you can stand to lose another 20 or 30, you worked your butt off, literally, and that outer tunic was hot! Hot in a good way. Surely it’s okay to look good. Joyce Meyers looks good when she preaches. You pray, c’mon Jesus, I’m having a midlife crisis here. This is probably as good as it gets for the rest of my life. But you can’t wear two tunics, so you take off the decorative outer one, grieving its loss.
They’re emptying their pockets.
This ought to be easy for you. You’ve been broke all your life, and it’s not like you’re holding a wad. You look at the bills your sisters and brothers drop falling to the ground and scattering in the breeze. You hear the chink of coins as they dash against the concrete. The reality of what He is asking dawns on you. You are to trust Him for everything, and this journey will cost you everything. You realize that under such austere conditions, you are afraid to go, but you empty your pockets anyway, even of the few coins you wanted to hold on to for the vending machines.
You stand there with nothing but staff, and the tunic and sandals you’re wearing. You don’t feel ready. You don’t feel hopeful, and you sure don’t feel like you’ll make your mama proud. You want to grab your bag of tricks. You’ve seldom prayed without it. You’re afraid that in your simple garb you don’t look good to Jesus. You feel small and insignificant. You feel ugly, and you can’t even hide behind the pretty words your write.
But He can’t take His eyes off of you, and because you left your lovely prose in the bag, He can actually hear what your heart is really saying.
“Give me your hand,” Jesus says to you.
Because your hand is empty, you fill it with His.
You follow Him. You don’t know where you will end up, or what you will eat, or if you will be a success, or anything else. The only thing you know is He is with you.
That will have to do.
You steady yourself on the staff, knowing He will teach you how to use it. You feel the wind sweep against your feet, and you are grounded in beautiful peace. You whisper, “Thank you, Jesus.”
You don’t look back.
You don’t miss a thing.