I grew up on a farm.
Early on, I learned that,
when you’re plowing a field,
the more you look back
over your shoulder,
the more crooked the furrow becomes.
(This was back before tractors had GPS guidance systems.)
But not looking back
this is not just something that farmers teach their children.
Every child needs to learn to let go the past…
and look ahead.
When a kid learns to ride a bike, for instance,
the parent will give the bike a push,
then lets go of the fender.
At that point, the parent yells:
“Don’t look back!
Look where you’re going!”
That’s the lesson in today’s gospel:
Look ahead. Always look ahead.
So, when it comes to looking back,
why do we adults so often regress?
When someone tailgates us on the highway,
we can’t take our eyes off the rearview mirror.
And the longer we stare at it, the madder we get!
If we lend money to our brother-in-law
and he doesn’t pay us back.
We keep thinking about that loan,
about that agreement contracted in the past.
We know we’re not going to get our money.
But we can’t drop it.
We keep stewing on the past.
Jesus tells us to let go of the past.
But it is not easy.
Personally, the older I get,
the harder it is for me to let go of the past.
What I wouldn’t give to be like a kid on a bike,
zipping down the street, excited about what lies ahead.
Maybe that’s why the Lord put so much emphasis
on being like a child
if we want to enter the Kingdom.
Children who know that their parents love them,
know that nothing else matter.
They know that, in their parent’s eyes,
they can conquer the world…and all they need do is try.
“Put your hand to the plow, and don’t look back.” says the Lord.
“Because I got your back.
I will always have your back!"