Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God. — JC Luke 9:62(NLT)
Have you ever been on a farm? Driven a tractor and plow? I grew up on a farm in Kansas. This passage has very little to do with farming. Jesus was a carpenter, not a plow farmer. I’m guessing that Jesus might have known that the man who made him give this answer was a plow farmer. Jesus was good at knowing who people were, what they were thinking and He always had answers that really caught His audience off guard. (He did have an advantage…He is the Creator or all things) The Bible says that God knows our thoughts before we even think them! That’s Jesus! Wouldn’t that be an incredible advantage in a Presidential Debate. To know your opponents thoughts before he/she even thinks them? How fun! If you can’t relate to being in a presidential debate….then….can you imagine the advantage you would have if you knew your spouses thoughts before they even thought them? Now that would be even better! LOL.
So what did Jesus mean as He tweeted this statement for all his followers to think about?
I could give the simple answers. Simple answers are still good answers. The simple answers would be about how Jesus had other references recorded in the Scriptures where He says, “Don’t build a house unless you’ve counted the cost as to whether or not you can afford it.” Or, “What King would go to war without first counting the cost to determine his chances of actually winning.” (Not exact quotes, but close enough for this purpose.) Those statements from Jesus could be compared to putting a hand on the plow and looking back or not looking back.
Is this what Jesus was referring to with this guy as he refers to plowing and looking back? I don’t think so.
I think Jesus is making a major statement here about WHO He is. In Jesus’ day, He had to argue/talk/teach/debate with so many people. Most of these people would have had a very strong knowledge of the Old Testament times and people. What I am saying in making this point is this….I think the guy whom Jesus encountered, that made Him tweet the statement that I write this blog about, would have known many of the stories in the Old Testament. There is a story recorded in 1 Kings19:19-21 that is about plowing. My version of the story goes like this…
Elijah was getting old and was needing to prepare to retire. If Elijah needed to retire soon then he needed to find the man who would replace Him. God had already chosen this person…his name is Elisha. Yes…EliJAH was to be replaced by EliSHA. According to the Bible story in 1 Kings Elijah finally comes across Elisha. Elisha is out Plowing in a field. Elijah takes off his coat and places it over the shoulders of Elisha. This is a sign to Elisha that Elijah wants him to be his attendant and future successor. This is an important thing! Elijah would have been well known. I suppose it would be like your favorite celebrity walking up to you and asking you to be his/her successor when they die. Pretty cool right?
Well…Elisha…accepts the offer…but says he wants to go home and say goodbye to his mother and father first. Elijah says, “go-ahead.” Elisha knew that Elijah was important, but other pressing things needed to be done first…Elijah wasn’t SO important that everything else needed to be left behind to follow him. Its saying that Elijah is important, but not THAT important. We don’t get much more of the story or how Elisha said goodbye to his parents. We do know that Elisha did replace Elijah when he left this earth.
What I’m trying to say in this blog is this. When Jesus told the guy, “Anyone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God,” He was making a very strong point about Himself.
Everybody in Jesus’ day knew who Elijah was! He was the great one. Elijah is so famous because according to the Scriptures, Elijah never died. He was so pleasing to God that God just took Him from the earth. The Bible records the story of how this happened. Its full of what we would call Science Fiction today. Flaming Chariot coming out of the Heavens…Elijah jumping on and being taken to Heaven. It would make a cool movie. I suppose in today’s time all the Alien lovers would call it an “Alien Abduction.” But it was just God taking care of business! (You can read this full story in the book of 2 Kings Chapter 2 in the Bible)
Back to what I’m trying to make a point about. I think this Plow Farmer knew the story of Elijah and how important of a Bible Prophet he was. Elijah was a great-great man of God yet Elisha didn’t follow him immediately but first went home to do a few things. In the story of Elisha being asked to follow Elijah….Elisha commits to follow (Put his hand to the plow)….BUT first he went home to take care of a little other business.(Looked back)
So….I think when Jesus says…”Anyone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven, He is saying…Elijah was great…but not so great that Elisha dropped everything….sacrificed everything….to follow him. Jesus was saying….Elijah was great….but I AM the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the forgiver of all sins, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the final authority and Judge, I AM THE PLOW! If you say you are going to follow me….then NO LOOKING BACK! Step up and let’s go…NOW…there is nobody greater to follow…there is nothing that even compares to how important I am that you should first take care of before following me.”
Maybe this is a better way to explain it. By Elisha committing to follow Elijah, BUT first running home to tell mommy and daddy…He had a “BUT” Moment.
Are you doing this with Jesus?
Are you saying to Jesus, “Yes Jesus, I am giving my life to you….BUT…do I really have to change that much?” OR “Yes Jesus….BUT…do you really want me to forgive that person who hurt me?” OR “Yes Jesus….BUT…do you really want me to tithe?” OR “Yes Jesus…BUT…I don’t need to commit to a church family right?” OR “Yes Jesus I accept the forgiveness of my sins…BUT…I just can’t really stop gossiping.” OR “Yes Jesus, I want to read the Bible everyday…BUT…” “I want to give up Porn….BUT.” “I want to stop being prideful….BUT.” “I want to be a better ______________ for Jesus …BUT.”
Do you see what I’m trying to say?
I’m saying….DON”T BE A “BUT!”
Don’t say you are a follower of Jesus and then have all these “BUT” arguments. Christianity has too many “BUTs” in it already. What Jesus wants is a faithful follower of His ways at all costs! No looking back.
Are you really a follower of Jesus Christ?
What has changed in your life since you chose to “put your hand to the plow?”
Do you have any”Buts?” What are they?
Write the “Buts” down and begin kicking them!
Be aware of the very last part of Jesus’ tweet. Jesus says, “Not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
That’s Heaven. To not be fit for the Kingdom of God means that you do not go to Heaven and you do go to Hell.
We’re talking eternity here! Don’t mess with this stuff. Is your “But” really that important to you?
So I ask you now…. ‘What is it that you “Can’t” do or give up for Jesus Christ?
You and I know what Jesus did for us. He gave His whole life.
If you and I say, “I can’t.” It really means we don’t want to.
It will be worth it.
If you’ve put “your hand to the plow,”…then plow on!
There is nothing in your life worth “looking back” on…or going back to.
How can I help you?