Very few people in this day and age appreciate Jesus’ use of the plow as an illustration of a life dedicated to the Lord. The ancient plow, shaped much like the antique version of more recent centuries, was a single wooden blade attached to two handles. A mule did most of the work by pulling the apparatus forward, but the farmer held on to direct the path of the blade.
I tried out an old-fashioned plow once and discovered that using it was no easy task. The simple machine bumped and jerked under my hands as it tore up the ground. There was only one way to make a straight line, and that was to stay focused on the work and keep my eyes forward every single second.
When a believer trusts Jesus Christ as Savior, he “puts his hand to the plow.” The idea is for us to follow the Lord in absolute obedience—always keeping our eyes on Him. That’s how we reap a harvest of faith. Discouraged believers oftentimes plow a crooked row, because they’re looking over their shoulder to dwell on past regrets or peering around to see what pleasures await. Their field of faith looks like a disorganized mess. Moreover, distraction slows them down, with the result that spiritual growth is sluggish, if they mature at all.
Give up whatever draws your attention away from the Lord. Believers who focus on past failures and present distractions end up all over the place in their Christian life; peace and joy are elusive and prayers go unanswered. Follow God earnestly, and He will bring forth much spiritual fruit.
Dr. Charles Stanley