When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Sounds good, doesn’t it? If only it were that easy. Truth be told, when times get tough, the human response is generally to RETREAT, to look back longingly as we seek out smoother roads and easier paths!
When Israel was miraculously led out of the slavery of Egypt by the hand of their mighty God, they embarked on a long and strenuous journey, traveling by foot from the shores of the Red Sea to a “land flowing with milk and honey,” a land over two hundred miles away. But the trip was taxing, arduous, and the travelers grew weary, and complained, about everything, the food, the water, the leadership, EVERYTHING. Their complaining led to a craving, a yearning for the world that they had left behind them, before this journey with God. Their murmuring came to a head as they contemplated this solution to their complaints: let us “make a captain, and let us return to Egypt.” Would it be “not better for us” to go back…to the land of our slavery.
Centuries later, Jesus would walk the earth and perform miraculous signs and wonders as a confirmation that He truly was the Son of God. Many of the witnesses to those miracles sought to sign up as His disciples, to “follow…withersoever” this amazing Miracle-Worker would go. They desired to embark of a new walk with this Teacher, but with one condition, they would need time “to bid them farewell, which are at home.” Let us tie up things at home, then we will follow You. Jesus incorporated familiar agricultural terms while gently rebuking his would-be followers. “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
His audience, with their farming knowledge, understood the analogy immediately; a plowman would have to focus, to concentrate, and to look forward in order to be successful. Those plows, powered by yoked oxen, were directed by the plowman, as he gripped the long, wooden handle of the plow with one hand, grasping the ox goad in the other. The plowman would then lean into the plow, the downward force pushing that plow deep into the ground. With his free hand he could direct the oxen with the ox goad. If he looked back, not only would he lose that downward force, but also he would rob his field of a full harvest yield if the plow line became crooked.
When the going gets tough, are you tempted to take your hand off of the plow and look back? As we travel our own road to that promised land of glory, let’s forget “those things which are behind…”always “reaching forth unto those things which are before.” Keep your hand on the plow, focus forward, and “…press toward the mark!”
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Lord, keep me focused forward, my hand on the plow. When tempted to look back, remind me to keep pressing forward in my walk with You.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1484-62bbf7cdbab97' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1484&origin=wordpress.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1484-62bbf7cdbab97' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1484-62bbf7cdbab97' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>