We who love God want to be free to serve Him with our whole hearts, but at times we may discover that there are things holding us back from serving our heavenly Father the way we truly desire. The Word of God encourages us to travel light both physically and mentally so that nothing is weighing us down. In order to travel light, we must learn to lighten the load and burn the chaff in our lives. When we cast off burdens and get rid of chaff in our lives, we are free to wholeheartedly and unreservedly serve our God.
We will see that it is God’s will for us to travel light in life. When we are traveling light, we find that we are free to serve because there are no restraints, nothing to hold us back or weigh us down. Gaining an understanding of what it means to travel light physically and mentally can help us stay in a position to freely serve the Lord.
God’s Word exhorts us to travel light and to lay aside burdens so that we can run the race set before us. This is clearly stated in Hebrews, chapter 12.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
No one can run well if he is carrying too much weight. The word “weight” in this verse indicates a burden or encumbrance, something that hinders. Things that hinder or restrict us from freely serving God can be in the physical or mental categories of life. God’s will is that we walk for Him unhindered, or unimpeded, physically and mentally, with nothing holding us back from being able to serve Him with our whole hearts.
We are to put away, or cast off, any kind of weight that holds us back from giving our all for God. The Word says to “lay aside” every weight. If we are to lay aside something, then we are not to continue to carry it around. Whether the weight is physical or mental, God says we are to lay it aside. We are to cast it away so that we can run the race of life set before us.
One of my favorite summer Olympic sports is swimming. I have observed over the years that Olympic swimmers do not wear regular clothing when competing. They wear special competition swimsuits because they do not want any extra weight or constraints. Competitors may wear special caps to restrain their hair, and sometimes they even shave their bodies. They want to travel light and be free to move fast and far as they race.
We want to be free to move fast and far in our service to God. We want to travel light and be free to give and serve at every opportunity. Laying aside every weight, or casting off burdens, is an action we take. Others may be able to help us identify extra weight or burdens we are carrying, but we are the ones who decide to take the necessary action and put forth the effort to get rid of that weight.
Weights that hinder should be laid aside, whether physical or mental. They can be likened to the chaff that the Eastern farmer burned after separating it from the valuable grain. Simply defined, “chaff” refers to the husks separated from the grain. “Chaff” also carries the meaning of trivial or worthless matter, that which is useless, insignificant, or unimportant. Just as the Eastern farmer worked to eliminate worthless chaff, we work to get rid of excess items and to eliminate that which is of no value in our lives.
Separating the useless chaff from the good grain was labor-intensive for the Eastern farmer. This was done by threshing and winnowing. The final step was to burn the chaff. In Luke, chapter 3, we see a reference to this task.
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
After gathering his harvest, the farmer would need to crush the stalks in order to dislodge the grain from the stalks. This process, called threshing, sometimes involved having oxen or horses tread over the harvested stalks. Another method involved using a rod to beat out the grain. Winnowing—a process of separating the grain, the straw, and the chaff—was the next step. The farmer would toss the threshed straw into the air when there was a breeze so that the wind would blow away the dust and the chaff while the good grain fell to the threshing floor. After the grain was gathered and stored for use, the remaining chaff was burned.
Chaff represents that which is worthless or useless. From God’s perspective, the ungodly are described as chaff in Psalms 1:4, where it reads, “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” For the Eastern farmer, the grain had value; the chaff did not. The chaff was insignificant and unimportant. We want to recognize that which is unnecessary or insignificant or a hindrance, and call it chaff. Then we can deal with it accordingly.
Getting rid of chaff and traveling light physically allows us to be free to serve. In Luke 10, Jesus Christ gave his disciples a specific mission to go forth to heal the sick and to teach others about the Kingdom of God. They followed his instruction to travel light, and they had no lack….
This is an excerpt from the May/June 2015 issue of The Way Magazine.
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