The Plow


English: Grass, linseed, trees and maize, Mant...

I’ve never plowed in a field.  Ever.   In fact, I remember as a child sitting on the porch swing of my grandmother’s house in Rosehill, Virginia, down in Southwest Appalachia, beside her brother who was a farmer.  He took my small hands and turned them over and asked me where the callouses were.  I also didn’t know what a callous was.

There is a very, very difficult teaching of Christ’s about a plow and the kingdom of God.  You can find it in Luke 9:62. He taught, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”  Had we an audio recording of that moment when he taught this, we would be hearing crickets.   There is much to ponder in such a teaching but let’s not get lost in the brush trying to tease those ideas out.  The thrust of such a teaching is to underline the cost of discipleship (as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian and martyr at the hands of the Gestapo would say it).  Another way of putting it is to turn your hands over and ask if you have any callouses.

My supervising professor in Ph.D. studies liked to say that sitting in a garage will not turn you into a Chevrolet.  Even so.  Sitting in church will not make us Christians.  The Apostle Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 9:10), “whoever plows should plow in hope, whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop.”  Look forward then, not backwards.  Keep your hand on the plow.  Sow in hope.  I’ll see you Sunday and you can show me your hands.  Grace & Peace.

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