7 Weeks Living out of Suitcase

During my sabbatical in New Zealand and California a few months ago, I lived for seven full weeks with just the clothes in one fairly small suitcase. I had a few shirts, a few pants, some socks and underwear, and a toothbrush, razor, and stick of deodorant.

Yes, I did wash the clothes from time to time. But I traveled light and never lacked a thing.

Shortly after returning back to the Carolinas, I went through the arduous process of moving into a new residence. I couldn’t help but be struck by the contrast.

For seven weeks, I had done just fine with only the belongings I could carry in one suitcase. But back at home I had countless boxes and pieces of furniture to move. Too many clothes. Too much furniture. Too many books.

Too much junk…

What an eye-opening experience! If I could get along so well with just the items I could carry, what was I doing with all the other stuff back home?

Jesus said a lot about “traveling light” as we journey through life. When sending out His disciples, He warned, “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep” (Matthew 10:9-10 NIV).

And then there was Jesus’ famous statement about unloading our “stuff” if we truly want to enter into the riches of His kingdom: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:25 NIV).

I don’t think He meant we must disavow owning any property. Rather, this is a warning not to clutch our possessions so tightly that they hinder us from the eternal abundance derived from wholeheartedly following Him.

In order to enter a city’s narrow gateway, a camel’s heavy load often had to be removed. In the same way, we must lay down our possessions—and our very lives—in order to enjoy the maximum blessings of God’s kingdom.

I think many of us Americans are so attached to our material goods that we fear what would happen if we ever lost them. But I’m glad I discovered that, if necessary, I could have kept living out of my suitcase.

Likewise, I’m glad I finally came to realize that much of the “stuff” in my storage unit wasn’t really a blessing, but merely a burden.

What do you really need in order to comfortably live? It’s probably a lot less than you think!

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8 thoughts on “7 Weeks Living out of Suitcase

  1. Another great article. One of the best results of airlines charging for every piece of luggage has been to reduce the luggage. Even then I carry too much on trips. Karen and I have reduced our luggage to one piece and it is enough.

    I am looking forward to more fresh winds from your travels.

  2. I remember a trip to Europe many years ago when I look an unbearably heavy backpack. Of course, I never even used most of the stuff. And I think I’m still suffering from some back pains because of the experience…

  3. Great article Jim. We as Americans often become slaves to our stuff and keeping up with the world. It is hard to think about Christ and the great things he blesses us with when you are wrapped up in the spoils of the world.

  4. Jim,
    The storage industry in America generates $32+ billion annually. There are actually over 54,000 storage facilities in the US. Talk about not paying attention to Matthew 6:19! “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Great lesson is this blog of yours. Thanks.
    Dave

  5. Great article, I was just looking around my house this weekend thinking of the stuff I need to get rid of because I do not use it.

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