Decisiveness is the fulcrum of true discipleship. Luke says that Jesus “resolutely set his face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51) He’s about four months away from Calvary and the language that Luke employs emphatically illustrates our Lord’s decisiveness in seeing His mission through to the end. It’s more about His state of mind and not a geographical change. It has nothing to do with His checking MapQuest or getting a TripTik from Triple A. He knew who He was, what He was called for, and nothing was going to get in His way.
A few verses down, He encounters three would-be disciples. He says to each of them, “Decide!” Me? Or the world? Me? Or your will? Me? Or your level of comfortability? In each case they chose what was behind Door Number Two and left satisfied with that.
He says that a true disciple is one who has set his hand to the plow, or, in Elisha’s case burned the plow (see 1 Kings 19:21). Jesus set His face (“like flint”, Isaiah 50:7) to Jerusalem and we are to set our hand to the plow. Plowing is about harvest, and in the succeeding verses, Jesus sent out the seventy with this pep talk: “Pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send more plowers into the field.” Some plant, some plow, some water…but the Lord gets His beautiful harvest!
Our Lord cannot use scribes (the first guy) who are worried about looking foolish to their rich buddies when they are found sleeping in caves or under bridges “for a carpenter” instead of their large-mortgage house. He cannot use the ‘I’ll catch up with you down the road but right now I have a lot of personal stuff to iron out’ candidates (the second guy). The call is NOW. And there’s the plow! And He will pass over those who waver between two worlds and the Lord knows this world will usually win out (the third guy).
The call is NOW. And there’s the plow.
Who are the harvesters? Who are the ones “pressing into the Kingdom” (Luke 16:16)? They are people who will empty their entire life savings at His feet even though the religious tell them every reason why they shouldn’t. They are people who will walk away from a lucrative career because their life and livelihood is in His hands. People who will drop the nets at their feet, leaving every security behind because they see the Greater Incentive, a Treasure you cannot refuse.
We need to be more decisive than ever in these changing times. Before I finished that last sentence I was interrupted by a call from someone I know who just won over $20,000 in the lottery tonight. Isn’t that ironic? The world will do stuff like that for us—anything to keep us from treasuring Christ. Anything to keep us from pressing in, pressing on or setting our hand to the plow. Tragically, the third certainty of life—after death and taxes—is that twenty grand’ll be gone in a few days, weeks or months.
Decisively pressing in means fighting against that twinge that says, “man, I wish that had happened to me.” It means being unimpressed by what the world offers because you know nothing can compare to the richness of knowing about a Greater-than-all Treasure and going after it.
There’s the plow. It may look worn, earthy, scarred and rusty, but it’s Who you set your affection on at the far end of the field that really matters.