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)
Why did Jesus say to the would-be disciple that he can’t go take care of his family? Jesus seems to be alluding to a story from 1 Kings 19:19-21 when Elijah saw his protege Elisha plowing with his oxen. Elijah went up to him and put a cloak around him. Elisha immediately left the plow and oxen and followed after Elijah. Elisha asked Elijah if he could go home and say goodbye to his family. Elijah said yes, so Elisha went home.
Jesus may be referring to this incident from the Old Testament. The disciples of Jesus would have understood that their decision to follow Jesus would not give them the same comforts to go home like Elijah allowed Elisha before starting their journey.
The Kingdom of God requires us to keep moving forward, not to live in the past. The past seems to beckon us to return there, but Jesus’ call on our lives is to press on towards the finish line. The sacrifice of the comforts of family and home is a reminder of the cost of following Jesus. It is time to pick up our cross and follow after Him, no matter the cost!
Are there things holding you back from following Jesus wholeheartedly? Confess them and be free to experience the richness of a sacrificial life in Jesus.