Many people these days don’t know the delight of hand-pushing a lawn. With driving mowers and tractors and the elaborate 0 radius models out today, the old traditional hand pushers are nearly becoming extinct. But I remember the days of the upright walk behinds. At 13 years old, I nearly lost my right thumb and index finger clearing a jam in the blade deck. Being relatively unexperienced and having 3-4 yards to take care of in those days, I was in a hurry.
One of the things I remember quite vividly, is how it was a “no-no” to look back. In fact, for those of you who have hand pushed a lawn, you know that if you are walking and continually look back, you will never keep a straight line. In lawn care, it’s really not that bad because you can mow over it and cover up the mistake. On the other hand, if you are plowing, you’ve made a crooked furrow. And in order to keep up, you have to continue to make crooked furrows to match. In agriculture, and yes, I do know a little something about agriculture (growing up where I did), what you have done with crooked furrows and a crooked field is to make a “T” total mess. Anyone who plows a field must, must, must keep his/her eyes fixed straight ahead or the job will be ruined.
In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 9, Jesus makes a statement that is practical for farming; yet, it is also extremely practical for our spiritual life and journey. Of course, it is important to note that in the NT, Jesus makes a lot of statements that dig deep into the soul of mankind (if we actually put some time into saturating on it). He states these words, recorded in Luke 9, v.62: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God” (NIV). Consider this: In context, this statement come in the aftermath of his disciples offering to call fire down from Heaven on the Samaritans. The Samaritans were unwelcoming so the disciples, the follower of Jesus, were furious. Jesus uses their anger to teach them a deeper revelation about the Kingdom of God: that we are under grace. Jesus rebukes both James and John. Then comes this section in vv.57-62 that demonstrates there is a cost to following Jesus.
A lot of people get off the Jesus journey right there, especially as the concept of following Jesus is linked to “costing me something.” I have seen people jump off, slide out, and slowly fade away once this has been realized. Perhaps we know something about this from our own personal history. Maybe we have seen it front and center in the life of a family member or a close friend. What are the excuses? We see a few listed in Luke 9, but there are many more that stand in the way of followship.
I have prayed over this passage much as of late. I am led to believe, by the Holy Spirit Himself, that in these days He is seeking those who are willing to commit and surrender 100% to His purpose, His will, and His way. It is often not a popular thing to do, especially if you are caught up in culture, prosperity, and materialism. Many idols are on people’s thrones today. I am not meaning to be discouraging, quite to the contrary: Be encouraged friends! If you have professed faith in Jesus Christ…if you have a living relationship with God…if you have surrendered to Him and to His plan and will for your life…if you consider yourself a disciple (a student, a pupil, a learner) of Him — you have put your hand to the plow. Don’t look back! Do not second-guess yourself into paralysis. Trust in God. Focus forward.
Praying for plows that are moving forward, going side by side on this Jesus-led journey,