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)
“Tough shot,” I said, watching Pete’s Titleist hook out over Lake Michigan like a trick frisbee throw. “At least you won’t do that again today.”
“Oh yeah, watch this,” he smirked.
Pete stepped up to the tee again, repeating the exact same shot. I’ve never seen him shank like that on any hole until the dreaded number six. “This is like the Bermuda Triangle,” he moaned. “Every time I play here the same thing happens.” He trudged down the fairway and dropped a ball at the edge of the grass where his first two had veered into their watery graves. The rest of the afternoon, none of his shots hooked, and his game returned to normal.
It reminded me of something I learned in drivers ed about steering a car. If I focused on what I was trying to avoid, the car would inevitably veer toward it. Somehow my intention to avoid the one thing I feared caused me to drift towards it. Our teacher would cue us to look ahead by saying, “Horizon. Eyes on the horizon.” He trained us to look out, farther than the problem area, and visually grab a focal point in the road ahead. Instead of concentrating on where we didn’t want to go, we zeroed in on where we wanted to end up.
Sometimes what we are trying to avoid propels toward us like a magnet. As we focus on avoidance, it sucks up our resources. Our intention not to do the wrong thing draw so much energy that we don’t have any left to invest in doing the right thing.
In Luke 9:62, Jesus explained how the diligent farmer put his hand on the plow and doesn’t look back. He marks a line ahead, keeping his eyes on it as he carves straight furrows through the fresh soil. If the farmer looks back or off to the side, he veers off course. Jesus’ solution was similar to my driving instructor’s: Look ahead. Don’t look back. Focus on your destination and lesser worries won’t sidetrack your efforts.
Read Philippians 3:13-14. As you drive today, spend the time reflecting on gods parable of focus. Is there any of your life where you are tempted to look back? As your mind veers off track, switch your thoughts and prayers efforts to things you know God wants you to a brace. Set a focal point this week for your action in prayer.
God, I am tempted to look back, veer to the side, wander around and get completely off track. Pull me into Your strong grip. I want to move straight ahead for Your glory.