With our hand to the plow

When Jesus taught the lesson of the man with a plow, certainly it would have presented an image that his listeners could relate to. The plow was a vital implement in New Testament times. The economy depended to a large extent on agriculture, and the tools employed were precious to their owners. Probably none was more essential to a farmer than the implement used in preparing the soil for planting.

So Christ Jesus' words with their familiar imagery carried an immediate impact. He taught: "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."Luke 9:62.

The vivid illustration not only points up the need of moving forward and looking ahead spiritually but also provides a warning of the consequences of "looking back." Think of a farmer in Jesus' day who sets off across his field with plow in hand but keeps looking over his shoulder instead of watching where he is heading. First problem: although the primitive wooden plow may have been capable only of scratching the surface of the hard Palestinian soil, the farmer who is "looking back" will surely find it difficult to plow any sort of straight furrow. Then there is also the danger of damaging or shearing off the valuable metal blade of his plow on some stone unnoticed in the field. Finally, the farmer may trip over his own feet or stumble over a rock, a slight rise in the earth, any unforeseen barrier in his path.

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BIBLE NOTES Pullout Section
March 28, 1983

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