Luke 9: 57-62
Jb 9: 1-12, 14-16 / Ps 88: 10-15
No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.
What matters is what we are now,
Not what we’d been or left behind.
He who “sets a hand to the plow”
Has set God’s kingdom on his mind.
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Jesus’ parable in today’s Gospel presents to us a clear idea of what it means when we are called to mission, or to witness for the kingdom of God. Jesus was actually citing the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:19-21) when he called Elisha to service, as the latter was plowing his field. But in the case of Elijah, he allowed his protégé Elisha to tarry by slaughtering his oxen and giving a feast to his kinsmen before he followed Elijah. This is not to be so with Jesus. The conditions for following Him are absolute, and leave no room for concessions. Nothing in this world is more important than God’s call to mission. Neither a burial nor a celebration takes priority or precedence.
No ifs or buts, no fears or doubts – that’s what Commitment is all about. In our governance prayer meeting last night, one of our young leaders poured out his sentiments about the burdens of pastoral care, and he wondered when he could be just an ordinary member once again. In response to his “sharing”, I told him that he was chosen by the Lord for leadership so that he could use the talents God had given him to bring others to Christ. He was chosen as the right man for the job. And he was right in accepting the ministry that God had given him, as he has grown to become a very mature Christian shepherd of God’s flock.
God is not interested in our past, or even in our abilities, but what we are doing now to prepare ourselves for His kingdom. He had given us His Best – His Only Son – for our salvation. It’s only right that we give our all, which, in the cosmic order of things, is really not worth much in the bargain. So how can career or even family be more important? God first above everything, and He will reward all our efforts and sacrifices.
Keep always before me, Lord, so that I may never be shaken, for in You my heart is glad, my soul rejoices, my body dwells secure. Show me the right path (Psalm 16:9-11) that I may persevere in serving You until the end of this earthly journey. Amen.