My One-Handed Plowing

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” -Luke 9:62

Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.” -Luke 9:62

Jesus answered, “Anyone who starts plowing and keeps looking back isn’t worth a thing to God’s kingdom!” -Luke 9:62

Do you ever catch yourself just wanting to do “one more thing” before sitting down and spending time with Jesus? I do. Actually, I just experienced that this morning. On my first day off for Christmas break, I lay in bed thinking about what I needed to do today. Nothing really came to my mind right off, so I got my cereal, my Bible, and my current reading book and set off for the couch.

Now this is a little side note, probably not necessary, but I can’t very well eat a bowl of cereal (or eat anything really) and read a book at the same time. So I always just check my e-mail and stuff while I’m eating and then head into the reading after I’m done chowing.

What happens next is a day in the life of me. Before you know it, I’m reading a friend’s blog, and I decide I need to buy something for her. So I get up, get my post-it notes out, and start writing it down. It’s then I remember that I need to buy frozen spinach, go to images, and drop off a package, so I write those down as well. Previously, I had done the dishes before I had my cereal, and the dishwasher was ready to be run after my cereal bowl and spoon were thrown in. So I head back to the living room and grab those. On my way, I take the last Kleenex from the box. Well that merits a trip to the basement. Snatching my bowl, I throw it in and start the dishwasher. Then I make my way downstairs. Oh ya… do I have a roasting pan for this weekend? I better add that to the list too. Making my way over to the pantry to get Kleenex’s, I notice there’s laundry to be switched over. I do so, and take up the dry clothes. Look, the bed’s unmade. I can’t sort laundry without making the bed! Oh jeez, there’s another load of laundry that I should start so that it will be done before this evening! Back to the basement. Oh, my hands are dry, I need lotion. Back to the bedroom. Okay! NOW I’m ready to listen and learn!

I think of this as a good day, because I resisted the temptation to sort the laundry I threw on the bed AND to practice piano for the weekend on my way to the couch again. Score!

But really, I feel as though I had the intention to plow up some rough spots in my heart, but I looked back. I looked back 12 times this morning, to be exact. What does this say about me? All too often, I put God’s kingdom off until tomorrow. I tend to get to it eventually, but like the people who needed to bury their dead first, I have too many other things on the agenda before Christ. I haven’t seized the plow with two hands in awhile.

I must remember this is not a beauty pageant. I am not holding onto the plow with one hand and waving my beauty queen wave with my other hand. Or like texting and driving: one hand on the wheel, and the other (along with your eyes) preoccupied with the phone. It’s not about the appearance of togetherness or holiness (keeping up the outside) that matters. It’s the hard work it takes to stay in tune with God and true repentance when I don’t measure up (the inside) that is the difference. I need two hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road to stay within the guardrails.

I have just confessed to being a dirty rotten procrastinator. I can’t blame my busy life, my dirty house, or the rotten trash that needs taken out. It’s my choice how I spend the 24 hours I am given each day. Will I be all the way in? Or will I be a half-way Christian? The Bible talks of half-way Christians as lukewarm phonies. This strikes the fear of God in me. I have to get my act together! The only way to get my act together is to confess to God that I don’t have my act together and to please perform an act of God so that I can be in communion together with Jesus.

God, I pray this prayer over my distracted self. Thank you for examining my heart and pulling out the ugly and putting it all on the table for me to recognize. Keep poking me when I am drawn to the gray mundane instead of the golden opportunity that is you. I am not an expert, so running a plow with one hand while keeping up my status with the other is just dangerous. Thank you for giving me free will, and with that choice, I choose to follow you (now rather than later).

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