While growing up working on the farm, one of my regular jobs in the summer and fall was mowing the pastures. As young as 11 or 12, I was mowing with a bush-hog pulled behind my dad's Farmall 140 tractor (some of you know what that is). I remember the first time out to mow, daddy told me that he wanted me to mow in straight lines. He likes his work to be neat, even his farm work. That was a challenge because the pasture is not flat, but rolling hills with trees and ditches to mow around. I asked him how I could do that. He walked up beside the tractor as I was sitting on it backed up on one side of the field. He said "Just look all the way across the pasture to the woods on the other side" as he pointed. "Pick the tallest tree you can see and keep your eyes on it." Then he looked at me "Don't be looking around to see what's going over here or over there; you will lose your tree. And don't look back to see how you're doing, you can do that when you get to the other side. Just keep your eye on that tree and drive this tractor straight to it." Then he walked off to do other things and left me to my mowing.
So I picked my tree, revved up the throttle, let up off the clutch, and started mowing my line. Being a curious little boy with a short attention span, I had to look back to see if his method was working. Low and behold, it was (who knew parents could actually know what they're talking about from time to time). I made it all the way to the other side and turned the tractor around. I was disappointed to see that my line was pretty straight except for the part where I looked back. There was a very obvious curve. So I started again, picked my tree on the opposite side of the farm, and mowed my line. This time I didn't look around, and I didn't look back. And from the other side, I saw that my line was pretty doggone straight. So after several hours, I could look across that pasture and see I had done a good job.
Now as an adult, and more so as a Christian, I can look back at that lesson and see that it has much greater implications than just on a neatly mowed field.God's word gives us pretty much the same advice on how to live our lives. This world and living in it is by no means a flat field. There are lots of hills and valleys and ditches to go around. And we can either choose to just try to live it on a whim, take it as it comes and hope for the best. Or we can set our eyes upon the tallest tree on the horizon, which is the Cross of Christ. If we will open the eyes of our hearts, we'll see that our Heavenly Father has said to all of us what my father said to me. He said we are to focus on the cross and the sacrifice Jesus gave for us. We shouldn't waste time looking around worrying ourselves over the troubles that surround us or comparing ourselves to what others are doing. And He clearly said "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" Luke 9:62