READING: 1 Samuel 10-12, Luke 9:37-62
“No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Following Jesus was never intended to be easy. Even when someone along the way said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go” (Luke 9:57), Jesus countered his verbal commitment with a reminder of the arduous nature of following Him. “The foxes and the birds,” He said, “have their places to lie down, but I don’t have a place to lay my head.” He had set his sights on Jerusalem where He would die, and His commitment to follow the Father would cost Him all to pay the price for the sins of the world. This world was simply not His home, and He would have no place to carry that label this side of heaven. Anyone who followed Him would need to be ready to live such a life also.
Not everyone was willing to do that. One man said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father” (Luke 9:59). It’s likely that either the man’s father had not died yet, or that the often lengthy process of burial was just beginning; either way, the man was requesting a delay in following Jesus. Jesus’ response was essentially, “Let the spiritually dead – those who don’t follow Me – take care of burying the physically dead. But as for you, get busy now proclaiming my message.”
Another said that he would follow Jesus, but he wanted time first to go home and say good-bye to his loved ones. Again, Jesus would give no such freedom. Using an agricultural image, Jesus told him that anyone who followed Him must keep looking forward, never looking back. If you look backward, the row you’re creating would be crooked – and that’s not what Jesus requires. He who “determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51) expected His followers to obey Him with equal resolve, regardless of the cost. Indeed, some who were His disciples that day would eventually give their lives for Him, too.
The life application questions today are both easy and hard. They’re easy to ask, but hard to answer. Am I allowing anything at all to get in the way of my following Jesus? Is anything holding me back from serving Him fully, even if death is the eventual cost? Am I looking forward fully? If I’m looking in both directions, I’m not following Jesus.
- Answer the above questions as honestly as possible.
- Regardless of what you face today, press forward for Jesus’ glory.
PRAYER: “Lord, keep my eyes focused forward on You today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Samuel 13-14, Luke 10:1-24