57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. – Luke 9:57-62
Sometimes it is hard not to look back. Maybe we had an idea about where we wanted our life to go, hoping that we could have that life and remain faithful to the calling we had in Jesus Christ. As that hope is pulled out of our grasp, do we cling to it or do we let it go? As we move forward in the things of the Kingdom of Heaven, do we look ahead or do we look back at dreams lost for His sake?
I’m prone to looking back. Unless the Lord strengthens me to forsake my ambitions for the sake of doing His will, I might wind up as Lot’s wife. God forbid.
I trust that the Lord will not allow this to happen.
It is hard to let go of relationships with people who are focused on building up the kingdoms of this world and not the kingdom of God—especially among family or the household of the faith. Or both.
It would be so easy in the short term for me to just build up my little life. I could focus on building my business. I could buy a house and a better car for my family. I could focus on gaining the approval of those who look down on me and my family because of our poverty. I could join a church to gain the approval of those who consider non church goers to be insincere or lesser-than in the faith (if you go to church, that’s your choice. No condemnation from me. I visit but I do not join for reasons unstated here).
I could join myself with the battles of the day politically and socially and become so consumed by them that I forsake the task that the Lord has given me—to say things that few seem to want to hear—because they’d rather fight the sins of the world instead of our own.
All I ever wanted in this life was the “American Dream,” but as that dream fades into a land of Sodom, I cannot look back. Lord help us.
I could pursue all these worldly things, some of which are not unethical or evil. They simply get in the way. However, for all that I would gain, I would be utterly miserable because I would know that I forsook the Lord to gain the world.
The thing is, I know that without Jesus strengthening me, I would do just that and I still have things to let go of. It’s so painful, but I know that Jesus will make a way.
It is easy to look back, especially when you feel as if you are leaving most everything and most everyone that you loved behind. It’s scary. It’s sad. It’s lonely.
However, I know that Jesus promises us that we will gain back all that we gave up for His sake, and more. Even in this present life. I’m not seeing much of that now, other than some positive changes in my home that were gained by forsaking some things in order to get my house in order. And now, I fear I will have to forsake even that for the sake of doing what Jesus has called me to do.
I write this because I feel ashamed of my tendency to look back and I’m certain that other people can relate. I don’t think any Christian is without this experience in some form. We all have to give something up in order to follow the life that Jesus would have us to live.
How much more might we have to give up?
I don’t want to induce fear or burdens that are unnecessary. I’ve encountered some ministries that imposed extreme standards on people that are not of God. I don’t put any standard on anyone other than to remind us all of this teaching and to offer some encouragement. I tend to look back and Jesus is merciful so long as I confess this to Jesus, ask for help to continue, and strive to remain focused on Him. He can do this for all of us.