11th May 2012

Jesus Makes Us Fit For God’s Service

“Still another said. ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No-one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the service of God.’”
Luke 9:61-62 (NIV UK)

Can any of us be fit for the service of God?

Jesus paid dearly for his commitment to us. Even before we had heard his name he put aside the riches of heaven and laid down his life for us. He endured the cross because he was committed to sharing an eternal relationship with all of humanity.

In Luke 9 three people said they would follow Jesus. Even before they started to do so they were distracted by thoughts, all of which seemed understandable. What if it gets too uncomfortable? What if social and family responsibilities get in the way?

Jesus’ reply above can seem harsh on first reading. Do you mean that we can never look back? When a gardener is planting a row of plants, might not he or she not look back to see what is already planted? What is so wrong about that? The Greek tense of the verb used for “looking back” implies a continuous action. It is as if to say, “anyone who keeps on looking back”. It is a frame of mind suggesting hesitation and reluctance. It implies a half-hearted commitment to the job in hand.

Thankfully, when it came to us, Jesus finished what he began. He had complete commitment to us and to God’s service. Also thankfully, he shares his determination with us. Our salvation is not all about our own efforts to follow him. Paul said to the Philippians, “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

Jesus is fit for the service of God, and, because he dwells in us through the Holy Spirit, we too become fit in him.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you have drawn me to the Father. Thank you that through your Holy Spirit I participate in your service to God.

Study by James Henderson

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