Keep on Plowing
This article was originally published in the July 2004 edition of our magazine.
We hear much today about the value of commitment. Commitment is important in many areas of life, but it is critical when it comes to our walk with God. The Bible makes it clear that God desires total dedication, not half-hearted commitment. We must be willing to abandon everything else, allowing nothing to distract us from serving Him.
In Luke9:62, we read Jesus’ words, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” We do not see many plows today, but in Jesus’ day, they were common. In order to operate a plow successfully, you must look forward. You must know where you are headed and focus on what youare doing—you must be committed to the operation of the plow, because you control it. When you look back, you cannot see what is ahead, and you will quickly veer from the direction you were going. Jesus made it plain: looking back to the world is dangerous. You must not allow your attention to be divided.
This is a glorious Gospel. It enables us to live here on this earth without sinning. That sounds impossible, but it is true. If we keep our eyes fixed on the goal andour hands on the plow, we can live without sinning and eventually enter Heaven’s pearly gates. We can spend eternity in a place where God and the angelsare—a place that is reserved for us—but we must keep on going toward that place.
When you are going somewhere in daily life and are expected at a certain time, you do not allow your attention to be diverted. If something obstructs your way, you do not turn around and say, “Okay, I am going back home.” No, you have made a commitment, so you figure out a way to keep going.
Consider our journey to Heaven. We have made a commitment to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He is awaiting us at the end of our journey, looking forward with great anticipation to our arrival. He wants us to keep our commitment and arrive at His house. It is wonderful to know that the King of kings, Lord of lords, the Creator of the world, the One who died for us when we were lost in sin and alienated from Him, has prepared a beautiful home in Heaven and is waiting for us there! He paid the price. He set everything in order that we might go to that place. He said: “I go to prepare a place for you . . . that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3). Isn’t that awesome?
If we are to arrive at that heavenly destination, we must keep heading in that direction. Jesus is saying: “Children, when you begin to serve Me, go all the way. Keep your hands on the plow. Keep doing My work, keep following Me day by day. When you do, My Father’s kingdom is awaiting you.”
Not only has Jesus prepared a place for us in Heaven, but He has also promised to be with us until we get there. We read a promise in His Word, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). When Jesus tells us something, we can have confidence that it will be so. Therefore, when trials assail us, when we are be wildered or perplexed, when we are distressed, when we are tempted to look back, what should we do? We should cling to Him because He says that He is always with us. Thank God!
The founder of the Apostolic Faith organization, Florence Crawford, kept her hands on the plow. Those who followed her kept their hands on the plow. That is why we are here today! We must follow their example and keep going forward until we arrive in Glory.
How do we do that? The veterans of the Gospel can tell you. Ask them! It is good to do that. We can learn much from the senior saints. We know them; we have watched those who have kept their hands on the plow through many trying situations. We know that they have overcome. They can encourage us in the way.
There will be times in God’s service when we will become discouraged. Our feet will get heavy. In times like that, we must “talk” to our feet. We must say, “Come on now. Don’t be weary! Let’s keep going here.” There must be something within us that motivates us, something that propels us on. When we make the effort, God is there to help us. Suddenly, we feel like going on! There is a song that says, “My heavenly home is bright and fair, I feel like traveling on.” That is a good feeling!
Jesus said “Do not look back” because there is danger in doing so. There was danger for Lot’s wife. Heavenly beings had come to Sodom to lead her out of destruction and had warned her not to look back, but she did so anyway, and she became a pillar of salt.
In our day, too, many people look back. They commit themselves to the Lord but somewhere along the way, they falter. Their path seems to be somewhat different from what they anticipated, so they decide to turn back. It is a fearful thing to turnback! I encourage you to keep holding on to the plow and going forward. Keep going on, because victory is ahead, not behind. It may not be right in front of us, but it is ahead. Stay focused. Keep your eyes on the goal, and you will make it.
There are times when hindrances are thrown in our way and we stumble. Do you know what todo if you have fallen? Pick yourself up and run to the outstretched arms of the Savior, saying, “I am sorry, Lord. Please forgive me of all my sins, of all my errors, my foolishness, my neglect, my willfulness.” He is able to pick us up and give us back the joy in our hearts—the peace we once had. David said in Psalm 51:12, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” God will help us take hold of the plow once more. Then we can continue to declare this glorious Gospel.
Paul had a fellow worker who was plowing along with him, but then turned back. The Apostle said with pain, “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2Timothy 4:10). It is heartrending to see others look back into this world, but it happens. Still, whatever others do, we must keep on plowing.
God is saying to us today, “Stay in the Gospel. Keep your hands on the plow.” Sunday school teachers, teaching your class might be your plow. Keep on plowing! Those in the choir, your music may be your plow. Keep on plowing! Ushers, janitors, bus drivers—whatever your task—keep on plowing! Someone is depending on you. Someone is looking to you. Do not falter. I challenge you today to remain in the position that the Lord has placed you, and do it to the best of your ability. God is expecting you to keep your commitment.
Whatever work you do for the Lord—whether it is yard work, sweeping the floor, dusting the benches, picking up the songbooks—do it gladly and for the glory of God. When you can testify, do so. When you can shine for Jesus on your job, in the street, in the classroom, in the supermarket, do so. Whenever you can do something for Jesus, do it. You do not know how long you have, so do not hesitate. Do not say, “No, I did it last time; someone else should do it this time.” God wants willing, committed soldiers and servants for Him.
When you can help, do not stand by or pass up the opportunity. Do not be like the Levite and the priest as they went down to Jericho and passed by the poor Samaritan who was bleeding and dying on the road. Sometimes we see some of our brethren “bleeding”—suffering from a wound in their spiritual lives. We do not want to pass them by. It is good to stop and say, “Brother, Sister, may I help you? Is there something I can do?” Sometimes that brings such relief. Oh, when you can help somebody as you travel along, it is wonderful!
God’s harvest field is great. All of us who have committed ourselves to God are working in His harvest field. We may labor in different areas, but we all have the same goal. We are all pressing forward with Heaven in view.
If you are weary in your task, take courage. Those who have become slack along the way, those who are frustrated, those who are bewildered, those who are going through great trials, do not give up. Keep on plowing for Jesus. Stay with Him and He will sustain you and enable you to keep your hands on the plow.
My word of encouragement to you is to continue pressing on. How do you do that? By keeping in daily contact with God and His Word, through prayer and consecration. Keep on following! Keep on keeping on, whatever field you are in. You are doing a great job for God. When you are obedient and follow directions, God blesses you, and your faithfulness brings glory and honor to His name and causes others to rejoice.
As we keep our hands on the plow, young and old, He will lead us all the way Home.