No Looking Back

“But Jesus said to them, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back,

is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:62

I graduated from high school in 1969 and out of all the class reunions my class has put together I only made it to my 20th. Last Summer my classmates hosted our 50th class reunion and I let another opportunity to connect with them slip away. Part of my reason for not attending was ministry obligations, but the greater part was just my lack of interest in seeing people I haven’t had any contact with over the past half a century. But even as I write this ramble, I do wonder at times, what they look like, where they reside, and most of all what have they achieved in their lives.

As the weeks rolled by, I did hear from one of my classmates that our 50th reunion was a great success and those who did attend had a great time catching up with old friends. I truly am happy for them, but for me, well sometimes things just need to be left in the past, and for me high school is one of those things. Now, you need to know that I have had contact with some of my classmates leading up to our reunion. But by in large, I decided that it was better for me to remember them as they were, teens for eternity, ageless faces that will always be remembered as I look at my high school yearbooks.

Attending class reunions is not something you need to avoid as I have. The fact is, I would suggest that you attend at least one. There is nothing wrong with checking up with “Pals of The Past” (POTP). But for me I just want to remember them as ageless, timeless teens, full of adventure, dreamers of new things, always wanting to make their mark in this world.

For the most part, class reunions tell me we cannot go back. No matter how hard we try, we cannot regain our youthful looks. We cannot stop time in its tracks, not even for a little while. We cannot move the clock backwards and be that person we once were. Truth is, I don’t want to be that person I once was. Why? Very simply; I didn’t know Jesus. When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I realized that everything at that point was a new beginning for me, that there was no looking back at the world I came from. Like a man landing on a new planet, I realized all that old life was on earth was gone and my new life in Christ would be extremely different. Landing in the middle of Jesus is like landing on that new planet and life as I knew it would never be the same. As it turned out, many of my closest friends and family thought I left this world for another planet as I fleshed out my life in Christ.

As I meditate on Luke 9:62 I realize in some ways this is exactly what Jesus is conveying to His disciples. Jesus tells His disciples that you cannot put your hand to the plow and look back at where you came from and expect to be any good for His kingdom. We understand this proverb as it reveals the lack of commitment to do and be right. The plowman cannot look back while plowing and expect to do a good job of plowing. I can only imagine what a field would look like if one plows in one direction while looking in another. I would think it would have the same outcome if you were to blindfold the plowman and ask him to keep plowing.

I believe Jesus was describing what type of disciple He was looking for. So, what type of disciples is Jesus looking for exactly? Good question, let me see if I can answer it without putting words in Jesus’ mouth.

THE DISCIPLE THAT JESUS IS LOOKING FOR SETS THEIR EYES ON WHAT IS AHEAD—When Jesus predicts His death in Luke 9:43-44 Luke says in 9:51, “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” This is the type of disciple that Jesus is looking for; one that has determined to move forward, setting one’s body, mind, and spirit, with grave determination to move forward with no afterthought of looking back. There is no laissez-faire attitude here. As Jesus turns His face towards Jerusalem, I get the picture of a man who has set his jaw tight, his eyes full of steal and flint, ready with complete determination. He was looking ahead, never, ever thinking of turning back, running away, or playing the part of a coward. If this is Jesus’ example of what it means to be one of His followers; we must have the same spiritual resolve.

Forty-five years ago, I was saved out of a life that was headed toward destruction. If I had looked back while plowing ahead in my spiritual commitment, fixing my eyes on something other than Jesus, I would be useless for the kingdom of God today. The disciple that Jesus is looking for keeps his eyes looking ahead, while plowing ahead for Jesus. His eyes are fixed on the prize of Christ because he realizes that there is nothing else more important, nothing more eternally significant than following the One who has saved him.

 That doesn’t mean you cannot stop and look back to see how far you have come and how straight you have plowed. But the disciple that Jesus is looking for doesn’t ask the “what if” questions. They don’t second guess their salvation experience or their forgiveness of past and present sins, and they certainly don’t rest on their victories or dwell on their defeats. They wake up each day renewed in the mercies of God. Each day they look forward to what He has planned for them as they plan out each day to do His known will—never looking back, plowing straight ahead.

During this past year I have often wondered if the class of 1969 will host another reunion. There is talk via Facebook that there is one in the making. Will I attend? Probably not. Hopefully I will be too busy in ministry to take a timeout. I have no illusions that I will always plow a straight furrow, but one thing I do know is that if my eyes are fixed on Jesus and I am looking ahead then I know the outcome will be what He wants. So, let us press on together, putting our hands to the plow with no intention of looking back at our past life, because we know what lies ahead of us.

This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN wishing you Joy in Jesus!