Hagerstown Church of the Brethren
15 S. Mulberry St., Hagerstown, MD 21740
Phone: 301-733-3565 * FAX: 301-733-3598

"Church in the Heart of the City with the City at Heart"
Continuing the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.

The Pastor's Pen - March 2023

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, My Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

     Recently I read this illustration written by H. Norman Wright, in his book “The Perfect Catch”:

     “There is an old legend about three men. Each man had two sacks, one tied in front of his neck and the other towed on his back. When the first man was asked what was in his sacks, he said, ‘In the sack on my back are all the good things friends and family have done. That way they’re hidden from view. In the front sack are all the bad things that have happened to me. Every now and then I stop, open the front sack, take the things out, examine them, and think about them.’ Because he stopped so much to concentrate on all the bad stuff, he really did not make much progress in life.

    "The second man was asked about his sacks. He replied, ‘In the front sack are all the good things I’ve done. I like to see them, so quite often I take them out to show them off to people. The sack in the back? I keep all my mistakes in there and carry them all the time. Sure, they’re heavy. They slow me down, but you know, for some reason I can’t put them down.’

     'When the third man was asked about his sacks, he answered, ‘The sack in front is great. There I keep all the positive thoughts I have about people, all the blessings I’ve experienced, all the great things other people have done for me. The weight isn’t a problem. The sack is like sails of a ship. It keeps me going forward.

     "The sack on my back is empty. There’s nothing in it. I cut a big hole in its bottom. In there I put all the bad things that I think about myself or hear about others, so I’m not carrying around any extra weight at all.’”

     We are in the season of Lent and with it comes a weightiness that challenges us. We look into the sacks we are carrying to see what sin we need to get rid of; and we bow before God with repentant hearts to rid ourselves of these things. This is not designed to make us feel down on ourselves; but instead, it is designed to help us explore what we need to get rid of in order to have a closer walk with Jesus.  With that in mind, let me ask you, what are you carrying in your sacks? Are you carrying a heavy sack that will weigh you down from being all that God created you to be, and that will keep you from enjoying this gift of life that God has given you? Or will you be carrying a load that is light and pushes you forward into a life of freedom to be all that God created you to be, and to enjoy the life God has given you? Jesus came to help lighten your load. So may you make the journey through this season of Lent, focused on him, knowing him and following his call. May your load be light and your journey be a blessed one.