And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” [The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Lk 9:61–62.]
In the third part to this series of Divided Interest we are going to look at the third man in Luke 9:57-62. The third man responds to Christ that he will follow Him but he first wants to go home and say good-by to his family. We might not think that this is too great of a request but Jesus throws the man a curve. He says that no one who has his hand on the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.
What may not be evident in this passage is the knowledge of the Jews who would immediately have recalled the situation between Elijah and Elisha. Elijah had allow Elisha to do this very thing when Elisha was plowing (1 Kings 19:19-20). So why does Jesus seem harsh with this man? First, Jesus is placing a great emphasis on the kingdom. He is essentially saying that the kingdom is more important than anything, even family. The message of the Messiah cannot wait. In comparison to Elijah's message, the message of Christ is far more important and demands complete and total allegiance.
Followers of Jesus cannot have a divided interest. How much of our time do we sacrifice kingdom things in light of good things? I believe that we can learn a lot from Jesus' attitude toward the priorities of man. Are there things that we need to lay aside for Christ?