As Jesus traveled around he called certain people to follow him (Mt. 9:9; Mk. 1:17; Lk. 9:59; John 1:43), but in Luke 9:61 a man spoke to him about this and said:
I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.
As strange as it may seem in our day, the Lord told that same man:
No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)
If the man was going to follow Jesus, it would be similar to plowing a field in that day, which was hard work. That is a good analogy to the Christian life. Furthermore, to be successful at plowing in a straight line (following Jesus) you must keep your eyes on what you are doing. In the Christian life, followers keep their mind on Jesus and on doing God’s will. To look back, for any reason, is to show your primary interests have changed and are now somewhere else less important.
The man’s request in Luke 9:61 seemed to be normal, but Jesus apparently saw something in him which is not obvious to us and which merited his answer. That is why he heard the stirring contents of Luke 9:62 – No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
So was Jesus actually saying if one would looks back after plowing he would be disqualified for reaping eternal life? To answer that, we must find out how important it is to follow Jesus. The findings reveal following Jesus is a salvation issue and NOT anything less important, such as a reward’sissue:
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27,28)
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)
To be included in Jesus’ spiritual family, one must be his disciple. To be his disciple you must follow (obey) him (Lk. 14:27) and do the will of God:
He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mat 12:48-50)
That is similar to plowing in the natural, but no one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). Remember that and the requirements for eternal life!