Put Your Hand on the Plow and Don’t Look Back

Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
—Luke 9:62, NIV

I don’t know if you have ever mowed the lawn, but if you push off and then look back, you’ll discover that you have mowed in a crooked line. That’s not so bad, because you can correct it by mowing over your mistake, but if you are plowing, you’ve made a crooked furrow and that means that you have to keep making crooked furrows to match. In other words, you’ve made a total mess of the field. A person who plows has to keep his eyes straight ahead or he’ll botch the job. My sister found that out when she was learning to drive. She waved at some of her friends by the side of the road so they could see she was driving. Cars (like the lawnmowers and plows) tend to go in the direction where you are looking. She ran the car over a curb and popped the tire to her immense embarrassment.

When I had the power of attorney to take care of a terminally ill friend, I had to make a lot of decisions under pressure from people who were accusing me of things and from doctors who were trying to get me to make my friend into a medical experiment. I told the doctors that I had a power of attorney for my friend, but I did not have a power of attorney for medical science, so I would not allow them to do anything that would cause him discomfort without benefiting him. This seems like a digression, but it is relevant. I developed two sayings during those hard times. First, “It’s not about me.” Making decisions was a lot easier if I stopped thinking about myself and what people would think of me. Second, “The thing to do is the right thing and the time to do it is now.”

The point here is that if you have already thought it through and you know the right thing to do because it is obvious, but you continue to agonize over it, the opportunity will pass and you will have many regrets.

You should think things out carefully, and you should not make rash decisions you might regret later on. However, as soon as you have thought it out and and have decided for the Kingdom of God, you have put your hand on the plow. Do not second-guess yourself into paralysis. If you look back, you’ll just mess the whole thing up.

If you have determined that you are doing the right thing, do the right thing! Second-guessing yourself when the path is clear only defeats you.

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