Who's Carrying Your Baggage?

David versus Goliath is one of the best known face-offs in history, even for individuals who do not consider themselves religious. Recently while rereading that story, something caught my attention that never has before. Let me first give some background on the story, and then I’ll share that attention-getter with you.

The Bible says in 1 Samuel 17 that when David was a teenager, he spent much of his time tending his family’s sheep. One day David’s father summoned him and told him he wanted him to gather supplies of food to take to his older brothers who were fighting in Israel’s army against their archenemy, the Philistines. The Bible says that David immediately did as his father requested. Not long after David arrived at the battle line, circumstances came together that pitted David against Goliath in one of history’s great showdowns.

What caught my attention while reading the story again was verse 22.  Scripture tells us that once David arrived at the battle line, he “left his baggage with the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers.” As I pondered that simple description of what David did with the baggage he was carrying, this question ran through my mind: What if David was still carrying his baggage when he went toe to toe with Goliath? What if he had insisted on keeping his baggage in hand while he loaded his sling with the smooth rock, and then tried to sling it at Goliath? Chances are there would have been a much different outcome that day – no victory for David.

And then this thought hit me right between the running lights. That’s exactly what I, and other people I know, try to do all the time. We try to fight the battles of life—all the while expecting victory—while carrying our “baggage” with us.

  • We expect and attempt to win the battles that come with job, career, or athletic efforts, but insist on doing so while carrying the baggage of past failures, jealousy, envy, or lack of confidence.
  • We expect and attempt to win the battles that come with personal relationships, but won’t put down our baggage filled with bitterness, resentment, hatred, and unforgiveness.
  • We expect and attempt to win the battles that come with unfulfilled expectations, but insist on lugging our baggage that’s filled with unresolved anger and/or disappointments.
  • We expect and attempt to win the battles which come from the loss of someone or something important, but insist on holding onto our baggage filled with grief.
  • We expect and attempt to win the battles which come from our wrongdoings, but insist on carrying our baggage of unresolved guilt.

If we ever expect to win the battles of life, then we must be willing to first leave our baggage with not just any baggage keeper, but with the baggage keeper—God Himself. For He and He alone is able to help us deal with the baggage which weighs us down and keeps us from successfully fighting the Goliaths we face.

Who’s carrying your baggage? If it’s you, isn’t it time you put it down?

Jerry Long

Jerry Long is a retired minister [38 years] living in metro Greenville, SC. He and his wife Lynne have two daughters and three grandchildren. He holds degrees from Clemson University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He may be reached at gotigers73@att.net.