“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 8:61-62 (ESV)
I don’t have too many memories of my Dad when he was healthy. One thing that I can remember was riding on the “tomato planter” on the back of his tractor. It had a seat on both sides of a wheel that you would drop the plant into. The “planter” would then insert the plant into the ground and cover it with dirt. It seemed like an ingenious invention at the time. I can remember the ground being weedless, level, and the rows as straight as an arrow!
Even as a kid, the idea of having straight and evenly spaced rows made sense, but I had no idea of the skill and focus that were required to make them that way.
Years after my Dad was gone, I began to see how the skills of a farmer are so easily applied to the disciplines of life. Jesus rarely spoke over the intellect of His listeners and He was especially clear when it came to counseling those who were potential disciples. A rookie to the Bible may see Luke’s quote of Jesus above as being rather abrupt and somewhat critical. More mature believers understand, however, that Jesus was merely referring to the single-mindedness that is necessary for anyone desiring to follow Him faithfully.
Everyone has a past. We all have memories that make us smile, some that make us cry, and some that make us wish that we had more do-overs than we want to admit. But, in order to make a difference for Christ, we must decide to focus on what is ahead instead of what is behind. The wording is far too poetic to be original from me, but I have always been fond of the saying, “Memory Lane is a great place to visit, but you can’t live there any more.”
We will never experience the blessing of God’s future if we remain anchored to or distracted by the past. Don’t plow the same ground twice!