Luke 9 v 61 -62. “Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Notice these words: “… but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

Here is another struggle some followers of Jesus will experience – the pull of family affections. This man speaking to Jesus wanted to spend time saying farewell to his family first. But if he was drafted into the military no such consideration would be given him. Here was the true Son of God claiming his discipleship as a top priority. Was Jesus being hard on him?

According to the social customs of the time saying farewell would have included a string of various social functions, always putting off the time of departure until tomorrow. There is a good illustration of this in the book of Judges 19 vs 3-8. The delay on that occasion ended in a dreadful result. Putting things off always makes it more difficult to do in the end, and never more so than when the call of the Gospel touches the heart and conscience and it is delayed and delayed.

Jesus replies to this man with the words quoted above. The great rule in ploughing is to keep your eyes on the marker on the other side of the field. If you take your eyes off the marker and look behind you, your plough line will be skew.

If we put our hand to the plough in the cause of following Jesus and serving God, it is inevitable that we will eventually land up with difficult choices. If during the hard times, we look and begin to long for the old life and the easier life we left behind, our eyes will eventually be off the ball. We will lose our nerve as true believers and we may well cease to function completely as true Christians.

What a sad thing it will be to arrive at the end of our days and to look back on our lives only to discover that our plough line is skew and therefore not usable.

Stay firm, stay focussed and be fruitful.