Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-62
I was recently listening to the above passage as I was driving and the Lord spoke to my heart “No regrets.” The Lord calls every one of us to follow Him. To follow means, in part, “to join as a disciple.” So we are called to fix our eyes upon Him and follow Him as the disciples did. To follow where He leads, to study at His feet, to walk, eat, sleep with Him until He breathes in us and we become like Him. We can see this in the disciples, Acts 4:13:
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
This then is a part of what Jesus is calling us to in Luke 9, but there is more. We are told no to look back; to “let the dead bury their dead” and “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” We will see good times and we will see hard times. Life was not easy for the disciples, but they got to walk in the Glory and see the Anointing turn the world of that day on its head. They go to see the heavens opened and angels ascending and descending. As I type this I am reminded of an old song, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.” Jesus never told us things would always be easy, but He did promise that ALL things would work for our good. Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Jesus spoke of putting our hands to the plow. This speaks to me of work, the work of the kingdom. Before there can be a harvest, the fallow ground must be broken up so the crop can be planted. Plowing is hard work, even with modern machinery it is hard, dirty work, in those days it must have been brutally hard. We are told to put our hand to the plow, our work, and not look back but to keep our eyes fixed on the prize.
But there is more, let’s return to looking back for a minute. I think we have all looked back at things in our past with regret. We have all done things we would rather not have done, we have all sinned, but Jesus tells us not to look back. What is behind is to stay behind us.
…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:16-17
If God remembers them no more, then we have no right to look back at them, remembering them in regret. We have been called to follow Him, to repent, that is to turn from our wicked ways. If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive them, casting them away into the sea of forgetfulness. We have been forgiven and restored. Let us not look back at what is past and forgotten, but ahead to the glorious victories we have and will have in Jesus.