We have this blue Mason jar that sits on a shelf in our home. At the end of the day, we put all our loose coins in that jar. In today’s culture, we don’t use much cash, so the jar has stayed pretty much at the same level for years now. When the two younger kids would be given a $20 it seems like they always kept the change, at least it never made its way back into the family change jar. At the end of high school, both of them had a nice savings account.

The jar is handy. I have thrown paper clips in it in the past so I would know where to find one when needed. That never really worked. I would need a paper clip and forget where I had placed it. The jar has been good to collect loose nuts, screws and a few 22 shells among other things.

Our lives collect things like that jar. Pride, selfishness, hurt feelings which become hard feelings, jealousy or envy, I’m not sure which one it is really but it emerges as covetousness. I collect being too serious or not serious enough. Most of these things evolve into insecurities, anxieties, and obsessions. This is why we see so many jacked up lives in our culture and drama is no longer an elective like it was in high school.

The airline calls this stuff baggage and it’s not free to take your baggage on your trip, there’s a cost. Likewise, there’s a spiritual cost. God calls it “hindrance.” I am hindered from the running the race of Christ because I have too much baggage. It’s heavy and I’m tired. My Mason jar is full. But it’s not full of coins, wealth, rather it’s full of cost. Most of us live a “weighted” life not the peaceful, rested or free life Jesus has promised.

The writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 12 and verse 1, “let us … lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, …”

Lay aside, throw off, put out by the curb the stuff that hinders, ha, if it was only that easy. It has taken me a lifetime to collect these things, I like the paper clips in that jar. I can see them in the jar and they make me feel good, give me confidence, it’s a false confidence, but still a good security blanket on a not so sunny day. But in order to run the race Jesus has marked for me I must replace that false confidence with faith. Faith tells me I can do all things (including grow and mature, become better) through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13), not the Mason jar that gives me false hope and serves as a distraction. He told me to tell you that.