The Packing Checklist

by Joanna Pierce on January 30, 2019

I have a packing checklist for every occasion imaginable: conferences, vacations, weekends, one-nighters, and more. It’s organized by day and evening clothes, exercise clothes (and accessories), toiletries (pre-determined by hair-washing schedules), devices, food, travel necessities, reading material, etc. It’s even complete with checkboxes so I can mark off items as they’re pulled aside to be packed. Because of these checklists, it’s rare I ever forget anything.

My packing checklists do have one unique downfall: they cause me to over-pack. Why? The times I’ve needed a unique item on a trip, I add it to the packing list for next time. I always assume I’ll need it again. But, the just-in-case list gets longer and longer and I wind up with way too much baggage. In reality, I don’t need them; I should just leave them behind and remove them from the list.

And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him…And he received [the golden earrings] at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:1, 2, KJV).

To get you up to speed to where we are in Scripture, Israel had escaped the evil taskmasters of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and were in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. Moses had been up on Mount Sinai receiving the Law from God, and the people were tired of waiting. They cried to Aaron to make them an idol to worship and it didn’t take long for him to give in. Aaron commanded them to give him their golden earrings, melted them down, and carved a calf from the gold.

I came across this Scripture and was left with one question to ponder. Where on earth did Aaron get this graving tool? And, then it dawned on me—it came with somebody from Egypt. It made it into one of the packed bags. How? I bet it was on someone’s packing checklist; an item left on the just-in-case list.

Even when the God of all creation helped His chosen people escape Egypt, someone in the encampment of Israel thought ahead to their future—a life separated from the idols they once knew—and made a (bad) decision that a graving tool was still needed. Somewhere in the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:17), there just could be a need for an idol.

I can look at this Scripture and wonder why did they pack a graving tool? After everything God did for them, why are they bringing an element of their bondage with them?

I keep packing stuff I don’t really need repeatedly. This practice over “over-packing” can transcend into our spiritual walk. When God delivers us from our depression, addictions, fear, anxieties, etc., we still keep it on our packing checklist. Regardless of God’s promise about our future freedom, we still pack a little bit of that problem in our spiritual suitcase because we just might need it next time.

When the enemy comes in and puts a word of doubt in our ear—much like the Israelites at Mount Sinai—the just-in-case item we didn’t remove from our packing checklist somehow becomes a much-needed item once again. We get it out and land ourselves right in the middle of a mess God already delivered us from. When the graving tool was unearthed, Israel once again became idol-worshippers.

It’s time to empty out our suitcases, revamp our packing checklists, and get rid of those unneeded items. It’s okay to think ahead. It’s okay to be prepared. But, don’t let those extra items weigh you down any longer. Learn to rely on God and trust in Him to supply your every need (Philippians 4:19). Get your packing checklist pared down and enjoy your newfound lightened luggage today.