Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
— Luke 9. 61-62
Jesus is not trying to make it hard to follow him. He’s setting us free. He’s naming what holds us back. When he says these startling things— “The Truly Human One has nowhere to lay his head… Let the dead bury the dead… Don’t look back”—he’s just noticing how we get wrapped up in social obligations, in our own attachments, and in our feelings about the past. We get so bound by fear, need and shame that it makes it hard for us to make a move. Sometimes we are so busy looking back at the way we wish things were that it keeps us from being present. So we find it hard to be ourselves and to commit to living with courageous authenticity. Jesus sets us free from those things. Jesus sees your self-doubt, your re-hashing old inadequacies, your guilt about how you’ve failed, your wishes that things were different. He sees all the entanglements that compete with your passion for the Holy. He sees how you think you need permission from somebody to do what you want to do. And he gives you permission to just walk away from all that. Never mind what could have been, what people expect of you, or how you’ve let down those you love. Never mind your faults and failings. Jesus is calling you. Don’t look back. Be present in this moment. Keep your eyes on what you have to do. Or even simply on what you can do. Keep your eyes on the You that God is creating moment by moment. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He’s not making it hard, he’s saying, “Here, today, without any prerequisite, you can follow me. You can. Will you?” He’s not pointing a finger. He’s holding out a hand.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes