OUR HAND TO THE PLOUGH
Reading: Luke 9:52-62
(a) As we look to a new year ahead, then as I am sure we must be aware, if
we are to make anything worthwhile of it, then we are well and truly
going to have to put our hand to the plough.
(b) In our text, which of course is verse 62, a familiar verse to us all,
it speaks, not only of the necessity to plough, but also of the dangers
of looking back!
(c) Jesus never uttered warnings lightly! He meant what He said, therefore,
irrespective of what you may think of me or my preaching, it is wise to
note the words of the Saviour in respect to our own lives! We reject
His warnings at our own peril!!
(d) Although the Lord was not a farmer He knew all about ploughs. As the
Carpenter of Nazareth, I'm sure He had made more than a few.
(a) The Lord was emphasising the dangers of allowing what was behind, to
effect that which was in front.
Or to put it another way, allowing that which was PAST to affect that
which lies AHEAD!
(b) Some years ago at new year, I spoke of the present and the future of
some people's lives being destroyed by past happenings and events!
(c) For many years, I have been aware that there is a section of every
congregation, irrespective of who is ministering God's Word, who allows
what is said to go in one ear and out the other!
(d) That is very evident when there is unforgiving hurtful actions by
some, who although calling themselves 'Christian', insist in acting in
the ways of the heathen instead!
(e) However, we must not allow any such attitudes or actions to
affect other Christians, or the future of our church!
Because this has happened in days gone by, is the reason some churches
are now struggling for survival!
(f) IT IS A DANGEROUS AND A FEARFUL THING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HINDERING
(g) As a Minister of Christ, I am under obligation to use whatever means
are necessary to ensure this does not happen!
(h) In a certain Corps, someone said to me, that if I didn't do as they
wanted then they would stay away with their husband and family
connections, and this would affect my statistics going into
headquarters! They really thought that mattered more than the welfare
of the Kingdom!!!
They tried to use it as a cheap form of blackmail to get their own way!
IF THAT WAS THE SUM TOTAL OF THEIR CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE, THEN GOD
HELP THEM, AND INDEED SAVE THEM TOO, BECAUSE THEY OBVIOUSLY
KNEW VERY LITTLE OF THE SAVIOUR WHOM THEY WERE MEANT TO RESEMBLE!!!
(a) It is very true that the future can be affected by an UNFORGIVING
It is impossible for someone to plough a straight furrow, if they are
too busy looking back at what someone has done to them in the past!
Apart from anything else, Jesus makes it crystal clear that GOD
CANNOT FORGIVE US IF WE DO NOT FORGIVE OTHERS!!
A mind that is fed on the hatred of others is a SICK MIND, and
mental disorders often come about in this way!!
(b) It can also be, that we could be looking back at some failing or SIN of
the past, that can effect the way ahead!
Perhaps it is a sin no-one else knows about, and we feel guilty, and
can't get it out of our mind! It's like a heavy weight we cannot get
rid of, that weighs us down and depresses us!
Or perhaps someone else does know, and we live in constant fear and
dread, in case they divulge it to someone else!
Either way, we'll be constantly looking over our shoulder, unable to
forge a straight way ahead!
(c) Something else that can stop 19** being what it should be for many
people will be INFERIORITY!!
How many times have I heard it said, "I could never do that!"
IN 19** WE CAN BE EXACTLY WHAT GOD WANTS US TO BE - IF WE'RE WILLING.
Any other suggestion, is an insult to Him and His ability. None of us
can be what we should be in our own strength!
So what if we've made a mess of things in the past??
It is GOD WE ARE TO PLEASE!
IF SOMEONE WANTS TO MAKE US SUFFER FOR OUR PAST - GOD WILL DEAL WITH
WE MUST KEEP OUR EYES ON THE FUTURE!!
(d) Many will find it difficult to live for the Lord to the full in 19**,
as perhaps they have been BAD EXAMPLES in the past.
A man in the pub one night, took great glee in telling me how at the
reception of a Christian's wedding, the bar was open, and he was
able with his friends to get as much drink as he wanted!! IT CAN
SOMETIMES TAKE A LONG TIME TO UNDO THE HARM DONE THROUGH BAD EXAMPLE!
However, when we are truly repentant, and endeavouring to put our
hand to the plough, then, with God's help, IT CAN BE DONE! It might
take DOUBLE THE EFFORT on our part, but IT CAN BE DONE!!
(a) The thing about the ploughman is that he didn't supply the power to
drive the plough - HE SIMPLY DIRECTED IT!!
(b) In order to direct the plough straight, he had to fix his eyes on
(c) We must set our eyes on Christ!
You will remember Peter walking on the water! As soon as he took his
eyes off the Lord, he began to sink.
As soon as we take our eyes off the Lord, we will not plough the
straight furrow God Want of us.
SCRIPTURE SAYS, "LOOKING TO JESUS, THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR
The chorus says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His
Wonderful Face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in
the light of His Glory and Grace."
(a) Now you might think to yourself that ploughing is tough enough, but any
farmer will tell you, PLOUGHING IS ONLY THE BEGINNING!!
(b) Ploughing is only preparing the ground for the seed!
If the ploughing isn't done properly, then we cannot sow the seed,
and we will never reap a harvest - so you can see how important it
is! WE CANNOT DO THE JOB BACK TO FRONT!
(c) Often at harvest time, we speak about the parable of Jesus where He
speaks of seed being the Word of God, and the soil being our hearts.
(d) Although it changes the metaphor slightly, I believe this holds an
important thought for us for 19**.
(e) If we are to be spiritually benefited from the Scriptures this
year, then, our hearts must be spiritually prepared, the ploughing
must take place.
(f) Even though some heart may be hard parched ground, like a desert, when
the ploughing is done, then God will irrigate it with the Water of His
Spirit, and it will then be ready to receive the Word of God, the Seed
which can take root, germinate and grow.
(a) I trust that there are none of us who are going to determine to waste
19**, and all that we can be and receive, because we are unwilling to
prepare our hearts! That ploughing must happen NOW!!
(b) May I take the liberty of paraphrasing the words of Jesus in this
"If you wish to be My disciple and do My work, and yet are
unwilling to forget the past, you are not fit to follow Me, or be
a part of My Father's Kingdom!"
(c) Looking deeply into our hearts at this moment, Are we fit to follow
Christ into 19**, or will some changes have to be made first?
(d) The actions, the opinions, the hard feelings, the backsliding, the
unwillingness to think for ourselves and make our own decisions,
allowing others to manipulate us:
NONE OF THESE THINGS WILL DO FOR 19**!!
(e) IF WE ARE UNWILLING TO CHANGE, THEN THIS COMING YEAR COULD BE A WASTED
YEAR - ONE WHICH THROUGH OUR OWN ACTIONS COULD BACKFIRE IN OUR FACES.
I TRUST NO-ONE WOULD BE WILLING TO TAKE THAT CHANCE!
(f) The Lord Loves us so very much, He wants us to entrust the coming year
to Him, but that can only be done through deep commitment, and change
if He has revealed to us that that is needed!