Years ago, when I was seeking signs from God in discerning my call to serve as a deacon, I took my family on what I called a “Holy Spirit” vacation. Basically, it was a trip to a cabin in North Carolina where we intentionally left some of our daily activities “unplanned” so that God could plan what we were to do each day. We started the trip with a full-hearted openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, but, as soon as we got to the cabin, we began planning out our week to visit the many tourist attractions that were promoted at the welcome centers. It wasn’t until near the end of the week that my wife noted that we really didn’t live up to the purpose of our trip – to let God decide what was best to do. After renewing our commitment, the last day of our stay was filled with peace as we let God plan our activities for the day. Needless to say, our good Lord provided many unexpected but meaningful and memorable things to do that day. We all agreed that it was the BEST day of our vacation and recognized that it was all due to God’s work.
This vacation experience helped me to understand an important message in today’s Gospel reading. Jesus sends his disciples out to preach to the surrounding towns and cities giving them very clear and specific instructions, “Take no money bag, no sack, no sandals and greet no one along the way.” My first thought is that this doesn’t seem to be a very responsible thing to do. How could the disciples be successful in their visits without any concern or planning for their welfare and needs? Why not let them prepare or plan the trip?
The simple answer is that Jesus was trying to make them dependent on God and to put their trust in Him. Like many missionaries today, they traveled very light and had to turn their trust towards God to provide for their needs. Knowing that they had no power or control over their daily needs, they easily recognized that their success and well-being was provided for by God. At the end of each day, when saying their evening prayers, it was apparent that the food they ate, their place of shelter, and the power of their mission all came from God. God did not fail to care for them, and in this spirit of unwavering trust, they were able to focus entirely on their mission – to preach the Kingdom of God.
Each day, God challenges us “to let go, to go to God”. We devise many plans, plot many schemes, and cling to many things that prevent us from enjoying the peace that comes from trusting in our Lord. Like the disciples, we need to “let go” of our concerns and worldly anxieties and “go to God” in complete trust that He knows best what will truly make us happy knowing that He will never fail to provide for our needs. God wants all of us to lighten our load and to hand over our daily burdens to him. What will you let go of to let God begin working for you?
Deacon Bob Laquerre