Wednesday, September 19, 2007



Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The Boy Scout Story - This is an absolutely true story.

It happened in Cades Cove. My wife, Bonnie, and I were walking the Abrams Falls trail in the "cove" in the Smoky Mountains National Park. It was several years ago. We had walked this trail before and knew that at the end of the 2-1/2 mile trail (as I remember it) is a beautiful waterfall. Not small. If you haven't seen it, you SHOULD go. Anyway... we overtook a troop of Boy Scouts and the first one we caught up to, the straggler, was one of the smallest Boy Scouts I've ever seen. He made the back-pack he was carrying look extra large. And it was full ! I let Bonnie go ahead of me as I slowed down to walk next to and talk with this little guy just a while. Kind of draw him out a bit.

Straight-way I mentioned that his pack seemed large. His eyes immediately widened as he exclaimed that it was very heavy, too. Unabashedly, he asked me if I would carry it for him. I had instant flash-backs to my Scouting days and how hard I had thought it was to keep up with the troop when I first joined and most of the other boys were seemingly so much older. I had compassion, so I said, "Yes." The little Scout stopped in the middle of the trail and un-shouldered the pack, dropping it, like lead weight, onto the dirt. I picked up the straps with one hand and lifted. It WAS heavy ! Immediately I let it go back down. "What have you got in this thing?", I demanded. With a gleam in his eye and eagerness in his movements he set about opening his pack, revealing - right on top - several large stones, each as large as two man's fists put together, maybe a little larger. He had 25 pounds of rock, alone, in his pack. No wonder he was at the tail-end of the troop ! He was on a short trail to an overnight campsite and had ALREADY accumulated a bag full of rocks ! Not quartz, not geodes, nothing to speak about, just plain everyday "rocks"!

Some source of wisdom guided me, and I said. " I'll carry your pack for you on one condition." He said, "What ?" I said, "I'll carry it, but you have to let me take these rocks out." He replied instantly... " I don't wan tto leave my rocks behind." He looked me right in the eyes. I could see how serious he was. I said,"You mean that don't you?" Still looking me in the eyes, he said, "Yes." I said, very soberly, "Then you will have to carry the pack yourself." I hesitated just long enough to let him reconsider and as he hoisted his pack back up to his own shoulder, I left him... in the middle of the trail. That's the last time I saw him.

As I was catching up to Bonnie I had some time to think about what had just happened.
It hit me hard that this same story was being played out in my own life. My Lord has told me to take His yoke upon myself, because His burden is light and easy to carry. But, part of the deal is that I cannot bring along "junk" weight... foul attitudes, grudges, un-Godly habits, pig-headedness - wanting to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. And all the rest of life's trash that He would have me shed away from my person, my thoughts and heart. When I persist in carrying this garbage of life, He lets me carry it alone. When I let Him get into my "pack" and toss out the STUFF He doesn't want me to carry...and won't carry Himself... it's then that my load is much lighter. And I can walk upfront...with the troop. I'm going to be conscious of allowing my Lord to get into my pack today, and toss out what He doesn't want in there. I hope you will also.

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