One of the stanzas from an old great hymn is “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.” The Scriptures put it like this, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) They are similar in their meaning, but one comes from the mind of man, the other is a truth from the Word of God.
The Lord does not pick out a particular moment of frailty in our faith, a moment of doubt in a strenuous situation, and make a final judgement based on it, He looks upon the continual intent of our heart. He looks to see if we are carrying our cross, (Matt. 16:24) He looks to see if we are following Him.
Every born-again believer more times in their lives than they would like to admit, turns around and looks longingly at the world and those things that they have renounced, those things that they have willingly left, but those who truly serve Him never take their hands off the plow. Most people today probably do not understand the difficult work of plowing a field behind a sharp piece of metal attached to two pieces of wood, a yoke of strong oxen before them. It is hard, backbreaking work, and at the end of the day that man is tired. This is what we are supposed to see serving Christ as, not the comfortable pew listening to flowing words, not an hour or so of smiles and happy songs, but work, hard work from sunup until sundown.
Those who serve in this manner though do not see it as such, it is a joy to serve, it is a joy to know when that man lays his head down to rest that the Lord has used him to accomplish His will. They have decided to follow Jesus, they will not turn back.
There are many I fear that shy away from this labor, it is too much to ask of themselves, the Lord loves them, they are saved, but the world and life call unto them. They know this about themselves, but they have decided to follow the Lord when it is convenient to do so, when they have completed all their other chores, and usually that time arrives when the days work is done. They are too tired to do more than read a verse or two, at best, they offer to the Lord prayers that are quick and often without true intent, and then they rest to repeat all of it tomorrow. I fear that many of them only believe their hand is upon the plow, that they are carrying a cross, (Matt. 10:38) that they are profitable simply because they think of Him occasionally. “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.” (Psalm 71:9)
Here is where many envision themselves, serving the Lord with vigor when their body is unable to do so, when old age has crept up on them, when they can no longer hold onto the plow even if they wanted to. If there is one thing I have learned about serving the Lord it is that it is tiring, it drains a man, for the Lord will not accept anything but our best. What we bring as an offering to Him He does not need, “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1)
Lazy Christians do not make for profitable servants, those who believe the tasks set before them here will be easy are deceiving themselves. Will the desires that He asks of us bring joy? Every time. Will they be beyond our ability to perform? Every time. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10) Its hard work serving Christ, and it should be, how else can we enter into our place of eternal rest if we are not weak and tired?