Ever see one of those cartoons in which one of the characters gets knocked on the head, stumbles around a bit, and stars encircle his noggin? Well. I'm here to tell you that you can and do see stars if you hit your head just right!
I was 9 or 10 when I got my first bike. It was a 26 inch Schwen. It wasn't the Cadillac model, you had to pedal backwards to stop. Every evening, my dad taught me to ride that bike. He would run along beside me, holding onto the seat as I l learned to balance. One day, le let go and low and behold, I was riding on my own.
I was restricted, at first, to riding around my house. I always had to stay in view of my parents. Then, one glorious day, I was given permission to ride around my block. I had arrived!
I took off that evening, relishing my freedom. When I was half way around the block, I got a brilliant idea! What would it look like if I drove looking at where I'd been? So, I turned around to watch! I distinctly remember looking over my left shoulder...when BAMB! I was seeing stars. My hands had followed my head, and I ended up driving off off the road. I have no memory of hitting the mailbox; no memory of knocking it off the post. But I do remember seeing stars! I do remember the look on my dad's face when he came to get me...a mixture of concern and anger. I do remember that I lost the privilege of riding for a week or so.
In Luke's Gospel, Jesus clearly says that he who sets his hand to the plow and then looks back, is not fit for the kingdom of God. Now, back in those times, a man plowed his field under his own power. If he were wealthy enough, he had an animal pull the plow. But, in any case, he needed to keep his furrows straight, and did that by focusing on a distant object. If he turned his head to look back, his hands would follow his head, and he'd make a mess of his field.
Jesus' point in his story is that we must always look ahead. Our present and future are what matter. The past, the old self and that way of life, are behind us. What lies ahead is the Kingdom of God! Looking back at our past draws us off course, and, quite frequently, we slam ur spiritual heads and see stars. We also quite frequently make a mess of our field...our current state of affaird.
Thankfully, we have a heavenly Father who comes to us (God is always the subject of our verbs) with love and concern. My earthly father became angry with me because he thought I had better sense. He got mad because he had to repair the mailbox. He got mad because he didn't quite know how to love and, yet, forgive. My heavenly Father is different. His Son, Jesus, comes to my aid. He lifts me up and sets me back to plow his field. He will soon be sowing seeds. Soon, the harvest will be plentiful. I will be changed from the one who no longer needs to plow. Jesus promises that the harvest is plentiful, but the Labour are frew.
Dear God, Thank you for the gift of your Son. Thank you for remembering the gift of Salvation. As we finish plowing the field, keep us ever mindful of keeping our eyes on the future. Thank you for keeping ours on you. Amen.
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