A friend once told me a story of two Bhuddist monks walking down the road. They reached a river in the way and found a wealthy woman searching for a way to cross without sullying her fine clothes. Being celibate to the point of abstaining from even the smallest contact with women, the monks were beholden to pass her by; nevertheless, one of them picked the woman up, carried her across the river, set her down, and continued on his way with his companion.

After some time, the second monk turned to the first and said, “As monks, we aren’t permitted to touch a woman; how could you carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The other monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”

This story really drove home for me how much it’s in our human nature to carry around things we should’ve left behind a long time ago. Our brains are like sponges—capable of absorbing much, and often indiscriminate in what we soak up, the good and the grungy.

To put it another way, we load our backpacks with rocks and try to keep a good clip moving down the road. We don’t often pause to think of what we’re still carrying with us that we should’ve left behind.

What about you, brothers and sisters? Take a look at your life. Open your backpack. What are you toting around that’s weighing you down? Lift up your arms; what are you carrying that you should’ve put down at the riverside?

We have great capacity to serve God even when struggling under heavy burdens. But how much more can we do for Him when we’re thriving at capacity, unburdened by dead weight and things that we no longer need to carry with us?

What can you release that will allow you to become a better servant for the Lord?