/// LUKE 9: 6 2 ///
“No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”
Picture yourself cruising along the highway and suddenly you hear a loud crash behind you. Everything in you wants to turn around and survey the accident that has taken place. Why? Because we have an innate desire to SEE EVERYTHING! We want to see our surroundings, behold them, process them and respond to them. It’s not just a desire, it’s also safe! Hence why all cars are fitted with rear vision mirrors… But there’s this small window of space within our range of vision where a mirror simply can’t help us out. Yep, you know it. It’s called our BLIND SPOT. That tiny little spot where, if you want to be able to see what’s going on, you have to crane your neck around and glimpse behind you - ever so quickly. Checking our blindspot allows us to GLIMPSE what is going on behind us. We can GLIMPSE the otherwise unseen. But what happens if we keep looking? What happens if a glimpse turns into a gaze? We never look long enough to find out! Because if we did, we would begin to swerve all over the road. We’d lose our point of reference. We’d potentially crash into other cars on the road or drive right off!
Glimpsing our blind spot is fine. Gazing at our blind spot is unwise
Jesus is essentially using the same picture - although his audience on earth didn’t have any idea what a car was. So he used the analogy of a labourer driving an ox instead. This was an everyday activity - almost everyone in his audience would have been able to relate. The common labourer would plough the ground to make it suitable for planting seeds or irrigation. Essentially, he was making straight trenches in the soil with his cutting blade (the plough). One hand would guide the plough, and since the plough was LIGHT, it was necessary for the ploughman to lean forward and throw ALL of his weight on the handle to keep the cutting blade in the ground. If he looked back, behind him, the cutting blade would spring out of the ground. The usual method was for the labourer to pick an object at the far end of the field and use it as a point of reference to plough directly towards it. If he turned back to observe what he was doing, he would LOSE SIGHT OF HIS OBJECTIVE and swerve off his straight line.
Do you see the picture Jesus is painting here?
Don’t look BEHIND you - keep your gaze upon him!
Fix your eyes and affection upon HIM. Use HIM as your point of reference at all times. Don’t peer behind you and allow your past to draw you back - because the results could be disastrous.
So WHAT IS OUR BLIND SPOT? It’s the past, my friend. It’s yesterday. It’s last year. It’s your childhood. As a person who errs on the side of being “analytical" … I can sometimes fall into the habit of GAZING at the past. How easy it is to glance at our past mistakes and failures - or even easier - to look at other people’s mistakes and failures - and let that glance turn into a hostile gaze. And if we hold that gaze, it turns into an ugly glare. We become consumed in yesterday. Like a mosquito enamoured by the glow of the electric bug zapper - we become fixated on our “yesterdays”. What we could have done better, what we should have done, how people ought to have treated us …
God does not want us to gaze at our blind spot - what is otherwise unseen had we just kept our eyes fixed straight ahead, upon Jesus. I believe he has fitted our life with rear vision mirrors - He allows us reflect back on our yesterday’s and make evaluative assessments that keep us on track. “Oops, ok, maybe there’s a better way I should have handled that situation” or “oh next time I’ll use a totally different strategy to accomplish that” or “oh wow I need to ask for forgiveness for doing that. Won’t do that again”. He wants us to continue to CHECK our rear vision mirrors so we are making sure we’re on course, making a straight journey toward Jesus and not damaging anyone or anything on our way! Every now and then, a GLIMPSE behind us is necessary. But He doesn’t want us to crane our head around and hold eye contact with the past. To become fixated on what we did or did not do. His mercies are new EVERY day for this reason.
Isaiah provides us with some great driving instructions:
/// ISAIAH 4 3 : 1 8 - 2 0 ///
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a ROAD through the desert, rivers in the badlands.”
Forget the former things? Forget the yesterdays? Is He asking us to be ignorant or hypnotise ourselves into forgetting what we ate last week? No. He’s asking us to make a choice. See, God never forgets. Yet still scripture insists He has “remembered our sin no more” - in other words, forgotten our sin, right? No - God makes a CHOICE to forget. And He urges us to do the same. Once you’ve ask the Lord for forgiveness of your mistakes, make a choice to “forget” them. Don’t gaze upon them, and become enamoured by them - drawn in, fixated, obsessed, distracted. If you do, you’ll swerve off course and drive right off the path of Life. No, if you’re going to be enamoured with anyone - make it Jesus! Be drawn into him, overwhelmed with affection and obsessed with Him!
What are these mirrors then? It’s the Word of God.
/// JAMES 1 : 2 4 ///
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.”
See, God’s Word acts as a mirror, reflecting back to you who you are and who you were created to be. It’s Wisdom, staring us in the face and urging us to make the choices that plough a straight line, Heavenward.
Glimpsing our blind spot is necessary - taking a quick look at what we’re doing, how we’re doing, and what needs altering - but do not gaze. What did the ploughman have to do? He had to throw ALL HIS WEIGHT onto the plough, because it was so light, in order that it would actually dig into the ground.
His burden is easy and his yolk is LIGHT. He will never bully or force you into doing the best thing for you. Yet here is the message: if throw ALL YOUR WEIGHT INTO IT: if you give him your everything - every ounce of who you are - throw all your weight into HIM - He will take you where you need to go. You will never be entangled with your Yesterday’s. You will never be distracted by what’s behind you because you’re too busy throwing yourself forward into the glorious Kingdom to worry about Yesterday.
Plough baby, plough