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Hiker Learns to Discard Non-Essentials

Every year, about 1500 "thru-hikers" set out to walk the entire Appalachian Trail in a single season. Only 10 percent complete the 2,160 miles of challenging terrain stretching from Georgia to Maine. One reason some people drop out early is that they haven't learned to travel light.

A friend of mine launched his thru-hike carrying a seriously overloaded backpack. He had an audio player loaded with bird calls, an air pistol to keep the varmints away, a camera, a radio, and an alarm clock. "If it ran on batteries," he said, "I had one in my pack."

At his first stop, an experienced hiker helped him go through his pack and decide what to keep and what to send home. Each item was placed on a gram scale with the question, "Is it worth it? Do you want to carry this for the next 2,000 miles?"

My friend discovered that his biggest problem was an accumulation of little things. Most of his extra weight was in ounces, not pounds. He didn't need half of what was in his first-aid kit nor the extra tube of toothpaste. His heavy multi-tool knife was replaced with one weighing only an ounce. A metal knife-fork-and-spoon set gave way to a single plastic spoon. He sent home 26 pounds of unnecessary weight.

Possible Preaching Angle:

How many of us are trying to walk the trail of faith in Christ weighed down by an accumulation of things? Some of these might be an accumulation of possessions, our worldly habits, expensive hobbies, or sins, such as anger, bitterness, grudges, or lust. Instead of enjoying the beauty of life with Jesus, we complain about how hard it is to follow him. What do you need to unload today?

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