Put Your Hand to the Plow - Christ told would be followers to "put their hand to the plow". Where did He get this idea?
[Darris McNeely] Two years ago in Africa, in Kenya, I stood at the edge of a field, and I watched two men with a yoke of oxen plow this field, turning the rich soil over in preparation for planting. Back and forth they went, back and forth, until they had the entire field plowed with a yoke of oxen. These two men had their hands on that plow, and they didn't stop until they got their job done. And it reminded me of not only a scripture, but also a concept about staying with a job, staying committed, and it ties in with a series that I've been talking about, "To Be A Disciple." The disciples of Jesus Christ, and the story and the lessons that we learn from what Jesus told His disciples to do and to accomplish in their mission.
How did the disciples learn this particular principle? It's brought out in a scripture in Luke 9:57 Luke 9:57And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said to him, Lord, I will follow you wherever you go.
American King James Version×. Let me read what it says here. "It happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, 'Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.' And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.' But He said to another, 'Follow Me,' and he said, 'Lord, let me go first and bury my father,' and Jesus said, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.' Another came to Him and said, 'Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.' To which Jesus said, 'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'" That's in Luke chapter nine, beginning in verse 57 to the end of the chapter.
No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. What Jesus is talking about here is commitment – commitment to a job, commitment to a calling, commitment to a person, commitment to Him as a disciple. Where did they learn this? Where did they understand this to come from?
You know, not too many people in this world today follow a commitment through to the end of their life. It seems like that's becoming something that is rarer and rarer, to make a lifelong commitment. People start a job, and because of skills, because of other changes that take place, they may go from several jobs throughout an entire career. The days of going into a factory and into one job and staying twenty-five, thirty, forty years in the same job is almost a relic of the workforce of a past time.
But also, people find it hard to maintain a commitment to marriage – to maintain a commitment to personal relationships. And that's what Jesus is talking about in this particular phrase where He says, "Put your hand to the plow, and don't look back." As He's talking about being a disciple, working in the Kingdom, working toward God's kingdom, there is a very important matter that we have got to weigh. Keep asking, "Where did they learn this? Where did the disciples understand as Jesus told them about putting their hand to the plow?"
Well, there's a story from the Old Testament where they learned this, and when Jesus used that phrase, "No man, having put his hand to the plow", a phrase that for you and I today is maybe a little hard to relate to because most of us don't farm, and those who do, get into a mechanized tractor and get it done very quickly – very different from those two men in Kenya that I watched a couple of years ago go back and forth, and back and forth. Those two individuals were doing something that was like what Jesus talked about, they had put their hand to the plow.
Where did that idea come from? It comes from a very important lesson in the Old Testament. We'll go there next time in the series on "To Be A Disciple." Join us then.
That's BT Daily. Join us next time.