Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62
One of the blessings of living in the neighborhood in which we reside is having quiet streets to walk our dogs, Ada and Leon. I have a common route I follow for nearly every walk, call me a creature of habit, and the dogs and I can cover it in about thirty minutes of brisk walking. Midway through the walk is Green Hill Road, part of which traverses a steep upgrade. By the time we reach the top, I am usually winded, but my walking companions trudge playfully up the hill as if they had hardly walked at all. It’s a great walk and I always feel a sense of accomplishment every time I make it to the top of that hill. I will sometimes glance back over my shoulder to see what was accomplished. A feeling of gratitude follows. “Thank you, Lord, for helping me up this hill, and thank you I’m alive and healthy to experience it!” Our walk continues with renewed strength.
Jesus spoke of ever moving forward in faith, summarized in the verse about those who put their hands to the plow and look back are not worthy of God’s Kingdom. What about the farmer who plows a row and then looks back over what he has done? Why might this be a problem? The act of looking back only becomes problematic when our attitude becomes one of regret and longing for what used to be. As Jesus’ followers, we abandon old attitudes, bad habits, and self-centeredness. We move forward daily growing in Christ’s love, grace, and mercy. We become keenly aware of the people around us and their hurts, pain, and personal anguish. The focus is off of us and instead we look to how we can make a positive difference in the world.
All the while we are of course going through our own unique struggles. We all have trials, frustrations, family problems, financial pressures, and challenges at our places of employment. Yet, despite our own struggles, Christ empowers us to new hope, renewed strength, and peace that passes all human understanding (Philippians 4:7). Problems do not disappear when we receive Christ. Instead, we have spiritual power for rising up, confronting our trials, and going forward in victory and power. Thus, God empowers us to shine Jesus’ light to a lost and hurting world that desperately needs hope.
I often look back, but not in longing for the man I was before I knew Christ. i do not long for the sins of my youth. Rather, I look back and rejoice over the battles, struggles, and difficulties the Lord brought me through. You can do likewise. No doubt, you have been through all sorts of difficulties. Have faith, for God will bring you through whatever problems you are facing right now.
God brought you through before; He will do it again. Look ahead and trust the Lord, for He has a plan for your life.
God bless you.