as we say goodbye to australia and set our sights toward lexington, we recognize that we never stopped longing for home. while we've been here, on so many occasions we've had the opportunity to share about communality and the story of our life together. naturally this has cultivated great hope in us about our future together. through the act of reflecting over and over again, we've not only recognized god's faithfulness to us through the years, but we see clear patterns of god's shaping us and leading us in a life of mission - an other-oriented, future-oriented life.
one of geoff's dad's sermons comes to mind. i heard him preach this a few months ago at the footscray church. he shared from a passage in luke where jesus says to his followers "let the dead bury the dead... "(luke 9:57-62). kev did an excellent job of translating and making cultural sense of this harsh command from jesus. in this, jesus wasn't referring to the imminent decision of attending a funeral or following him. jesus was addressing those who wanted to return to their work with their families and finish out their generational obligation, get things sorted (their future secured), before responding to the call of god.
then kevin went on to share an illustration with us from his own life as a farmer. his father taught him everything he needed to know to work the family dairy farm. one important skill that took some time to master was plowing straight rows with a tractor. when he first began to do it, he would look back and look back at where he'd been to check his progress. inevitably, his rows were crooked. as he begin to focus ahead on one thing, he improved, but not enough. his father then taught him something that changed everything. he said to kevin - you must pick TWO points on the horizon, not just one, and don't take your eyes off them - one in the foreground and one further on (kevin's dad would compare these two points to the work of scripture and the holy spirit). after that, his rows were straight. his focus on the horizon ahead of him made all the difference in his ability to accomplish the task.
jesus said "no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of god." we are people of the eschaton, a kingdom already come. in spite of our circumstances, we have every reason, promise, and resource to look forward and be the people of hope in the world.