Jesus said to someone else, “Follow me.” He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and spread the news of God’s kingdom.” – Luke 9:59-60
On the farm we grew corn. I hated growing corn. It was hot work harvesting it, and the corn silk made me itch and cough. But after the season was over, I got revenge. I took a tractor and used a “bush hog” (a big mower attachment) to destroy the dead, brown stalks.
But back up.
What would it look like not to bush hog the stalks? What if, instead, I watered them? I tried to get more life out of them?
That would look pretty silly. Yet, that’s often what we do with events in our lives.
There are things we get hung up on from the past. Mistakes. Breakups. Deaths. Terminations. Failures.
We grieve. And sometimes we just don’t want to let go. We can’t change things, but we try. We keep watering them, hoping maybe a green shoot of life will spring beside something that’s brown and decaying.
It never does.
Maybe that’s why Jesus shockingly told the grieving son to follow him without first burying Dad. It’s a lesson to us all. The past is the past. There’s a point where you simply have to start the tractor and affirm that now your life lies ahead.
The surest way to emerge from the clutches of dead corn fields is to “go and spread the good news of God’s kingdom.” Planting seeds of compassion, justice, hope today—even when you don’t feel like it—is the first step of seeing what this year’s harvest might bring.
The author George Eliot was right.
“It’s but little good you do, watering last year’s crop.”