As a young man living on a small farm, I learned how to plow a field. We had an old, underpowered Ford 9N tracker. Unfortunately, anything I tried to do would kill the engine every few minutes. There were times when I thought 9N should be pronounced “nein” because its answer to everything I tried was “No!”
There’s a skill one has to develop to plow effectively. Plowing takes work, especially with a 9N. I was constantly adjusting the depth of the plow over uneven terrain, keeping the furrows straight, adjusting the speed of the tractor to create consistent furrows while compensating for varying densities of the ground, varying moister content and other factors, all of which requires an unrelenting focus. And, I had to set my sight on something at the very end of the field and then plow my way to that place, never wavering.
As I grew older, I grew careless. I thought I had mastered this skill. I would let my mind wander, and then I started making mistakes. Even worse results occurred when I’d get in a hurry because I had someplace else I wanted to be. I put my hand to the plow but looked back (or ahead in my case). I would get to the end of the field and discover I missed my mark by three feet; trying to fix it was just an act of futility. Look what Jesus said about this problem:
Luke 9:62 (NIV) Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
It is perilous to tamper with the world; we must not look at its pleasures or seek its society. I’m not implying losing our salvation, but I am saying we can miss out on our reward in God’s kingdom. Our disqualification from a work Jesus has called us to rarely is due to actually returning to the world, but rather a reluctance to break from it. Christ will not accept “conditional service.”
Neither hardship, nor bereavement, nor home ties are an acceptable “absence from work (see Luke 14:25-33).” Let’s keep our focus where it belongs, not for fear of what we might lose but for the joy set before us to join with Jesus in His work “while it is still called today (Hebrews 3:13).”
Larry Norman wrote a song about this condition called “I am your servant.” Here’s Honeytree singing this powerful song:
“Ford Ferguson 9N tractor 1942” by Charles01 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons