Thursday, June 24, 2010


"Jesus said to him, 'No one puts who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."  (Luke 9:62, NRSV)

It's been a long time since I have done any plowing, and my best guess is that the same is true for most of the people I know and share my thoughts with on Sunday morning.  (Though, in backyard gardens, most of us can come near a semblance of a straight line with tomato plants or beans).

But I have known a lot of folks who can plow a straight line from a hurtful word first spoken years ago until the day they are laid to rest in that casket made out of bitterness, using a finely honed grudge which is able to give them a furrow in which to sow their seeds of anger behind them as they move from year to year.

I have seen a lot of folks who can snap a chalk line so hard that you can still see it after it has been painted over, a chalk line that runs straight and true from that first nudge of envy over what another has or does until it comes to end in that obsession which one can just never let go.

I have been around folks who carry a level around with them, ready to whip it out to determine whether or not a friend spends equal time with them as with others; to judge whether or not a parent's love is handed out in the same amounts to them as it is to their siblings; to measure if their happiness is on the same plane as those who sit around them in church, at work, in the neighborhood.

And like all these folks, I spend so much time plowing up old ground, that I can manage to convince myself that a sermon I gave in the past, a prayer I wrote a month ago, a mission trip I went on for a week out of 52, the book that was published five years ago, a visit to the hospital to see someone yesterday, equates to the single-minded commitment that Jesus is requiring of me in this passage.

"Jesus said, 'No procrastination.  No backward looks.  You can't put God's kingdom off until tomorrow.  Seize the day.'" (The Message)

(c) 2010  Thom M. Shuman

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