“Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye 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.” – NIV
This passage always confuses me. Personally, I think that this request from Jesus’ would-be follower didn’t seem all that out of line. Everyone, when setting out on an adventure, says good-bye to their family…don’t they? I would venture to say that we seldom go anywhere of significant distance without alerting at least someone. So, why does Jesus have a problem with this request?
He gives us the answer in His response; Jesus does not want anyone looking back. The issue isn’t the casual good-bye; the issue is where the heart is focused. Jesus’ call is always immediate and thorough. Never, for one second, think that His timing is anything but purposeful. When He does call, it is the appropriate time to turn our heads solely toward Him.
Naturally, in our humanity, we often let the preoccupations with life distract our gaze. The message is simple as this: Our path toward Jesus must be straight and unhindered. Those who look behind do not make straight paths.