Whatever happened this year is in the past. Focus on what is ahead.
This is the last article to be published for 2022, and it is a short but powerful message for all of us. For me this has been a year of change in many respects. If I wanted to, I could reflect on what was, or could have been. If I did this, I would be going completely against God’s Word and direction for my life, and this is sin. More than being sin, it is a dead end, off course:
59And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. – Luke 9:59-62
We are quick to make plans and promises, most of which we probably do not plan to keep. Just look the text. Each of the three persons has an excuse. Jesus is cleverer than this and sees right through their intentions. Let us look at them:
I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
In simple English: I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus reminds him that to follow Him will cost you your comfort – He has nowhere to lay down His head at night and probably, in human terms, never knew where and how He would spend the next evening. Am I sure that I still want to follow Him when I am told I have to forego even the basic necessities of human need?
Suffer me first to go and bury my father.
In simple English: Let me first take care of my legal and religious duties. Jesus’ response may seem harsh: Let the dead bury their own dead. Forget about these trivial things. If you want to follow Jesus, forget about the dead. You cannot do anything for them now that they have passed away.
I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
In simple English: Let me first take care of my social duties. This person’s priorities are wrong. There is often no time to say goodbye, and you should have said your goodbyes before you left this morning anyway.
The decisive statement Jesus makes is this: No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. It simply means this: You cannot look forward to plough straight and look back at the same time. In our circumstances, there is no point looking at what happened during the year, thinking that it will help you move forward. If you have decided to embark on a task (put his hand to the plough), then focus on that. Doing anything else makes you unfit for the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is, or should be, your aim – eternal life. Many are going to miss out on this because their focus and priorities were wrong, and they ploughed way off the corn field.
What is your focus for 2023? Take Paul’s advice:
13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14
Forget the past. Reach for what is ahead. Run towards the finish line. The price for following Jesus Christ is high, but the prize is absolutely worth it.
A similar article but with more detail, published in July 2021, is available here. If you missed it, read it and start understanding your puspose in life.