Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:61-62 ESV)
One of the greatest challenges for every Christian is to follow Jesus, and to pursue His purpose for our lives without looking back. Imagine trying to drive a car on the highway while looking in only the rearview mirror; you’d be challenged to stay in your lane and avoid a collision. Jesus’ illustration of plowing a field would have made perfect sense to his listeners living in an agricultural context. If a farmer did not focus on what is ahead but was distracted by what was behind or on the periphery, it would be impossible to plow in a straight line. The ox and plow would certainly veer off course.
Both positive and negative aspects of our lives have the potential to become distractions:
- Past successes
- Past failures
- Internal insecurities
- External circumstances
- Comfort & security
It’s interesting that the man who wants to follow Jesus is distracted by something that we would consider a positive: his home and family. Jesus is letting us know that even something that’s a huge blessing in our lives can become a distraction if it becomes more important than pursuing Jesus and His purpose. As we continue to seek Jesus, we must constantly be aware of the potential distractions in our rear view mirror of life. There can often be a tendency to look back and remember the good, instead of the great in front of you with Jesus.
How can you look ahead and refocus on Jesus and His purpose for you?