Look to the future

Published 10:16 am Friday, December 27, 2019

Merry “post-Christmas” and Happy “pre-New Year!” A week that rests between the 25th and 1st. A time that we find ourselves often reflecting on the past year and planning for the new year. Given the choice of planning for the future with hope and anticipation and brooding over the past, I would rather charge forward. I am reminded of a passage of scripture taken from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 9, verses 57-62. When addressing moving forward and following Him and furthering the kingdom of heaven, Luke records this as Christ’s response:

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

One person approaches Christ and says, “I’ll follow you wherever,” and Jesus reminds this person that if you follow me you must understand that I don’t settle anywhere. I’m homeless. You have to give up what you have to follow me. The cost of following Christ.

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Then Jesus asks a person to follow him and that person had business he wanted to take care of first. Business that took priority over following Christ. Again, a cost to following Christ is sometimes we have to re-prioritize our lives in the service of His kingdom.

Yet a third person proclaimed he would follow Christ, but again, he had to go say goodbyes and tend to his business first. And then we come to this final sentence from Christ and that is the one I want us to think about. “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

The farmer can’t plow the field in straight lines, in order, on target, moving forward correctly if he or she is looking over their shoulder at where they have been. They are unfit for the work. They must be focused on moving forward, where they are going, what they are doing, not lingering in what has taken place behind them. Something else to let go of. Another cost.

As you and I enter the new year, let us work on letting go of the past. Giving it to God. Let us place our hands on the plow, look straight ahead to our Lord, follow Him, serve Him and focus on the future.

REV. BARRY VASSAR is pastor at Fitzgerald Memorial Baptist. He can be reached at fitzgeraldmemorial@gmail.com