What Does it Mean to Put your Hand on the Plow and Look Back? (Luke 9:62)

Do you know what it means to put your hand on the plow and look back? The answer to this question is vital because it can affect your salvation. Read on to learn more.

Christ has a stern and strong warning to those people who put their hands on the plow and look back. He said in Luke 9:62:

“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

What did Christ mean by this statement? After all, our salvation might as well depend on upon this statement of Jesus/Yeshua. He said that if we are guilty of looking back after putting our hands on the plow, we will not be fit for the kingdom of God.

What does it mean to put your hand on the low and look back?

What does putting your hands on the plow mean?

Putting your hands on the plow is a proverbial expression that signifies undertaking a new business. In this case, putting our hands on the plow means that we have decided that we are going to commit our lives to God. We believe that God will save us when we repent of our sins, get baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.

Jesus lived in an agricultural age where His audience is very well familiar with what Christ exactly means. For a plowman to be successful in His work, he must concentrate on the job he started. He knows that the only way is forward and not being distracted by the things left behind.

In case the plowman starts to look back, his plow line would become crooked. If that happens, the field he is plowing will not yield a full harvest.

Why would he become unfit for the kingdom of God?

We are commanded to bear much fruit. When we keep on looking back, we won’t be able to plow our field properly and because of that, we will not have plenty of harvests.

God called us out of this world and once we responded to that call, we must never try to go back to the world. However, because of the many pleasures this world could offer – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – we tend to look back and be regretful of our calling.

When this happens, we are preventing ourselves from bearing much fruit. When God calls us to His church, we are expected to give our whole heart. We are called to love God with all our hearts, soul, and mind. Looking back prevents us from doing this.

Worst of all, we might even let go of the plow and go back to our old sinful ways. A man who did not finish the job God has given him will not be fit for God’s kingdom. How can God entrust the rulership in His Kingdom if we haven’t done our part?

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The story of Elijah and Elisha


When Christ made this statement, His audience knew that Jesus was referring to the story of Elijah and Elisha.

God commanded Elijah to anoint Elisha as a prophet who will be his successor. Elijah found Elisha “plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before Him” (I Kings 19:19). Elisha immediately let go of his physical plow and to hold the spiritual plow that God has called him to do.

Elisha’s response was incredible. He “took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant” (verse 21).

In an agricultural society, it is unthinkable to kill your only source of income. Elisha is ready to forsake everything just to answer the call of God! He made it clear to everyone that he doesn’t intend to go back to his “old life.”

This is the type of commitment God expects from us, Christians. We must be ready to let go of everything if we are to obey God’s will for us. The good news is when we put our complete trust in God, He will never forsake us nor leave us. We can have the assurance that God will supply all our needs.

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Are you still looking back?

If we are still looking back at our old ways, we must reconsider our priorities in life. If we regret answering God’s calling, then we might be in danger of being counted as unfit for the kingdom of God.

We must fully be CONVINCED that the best way to live this life is doing God’s will and purpose. Yes, this world may entertain or give us pleasure, but these pleasures are only temporary. God is the only Source of TRUE blessings – blessings that will last forever.

So let us not exchange our spiritual calling to something temporary and physical. Therefore, let us do our best in “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead!” (Philippians 3:13).

Fearless by max lucado footnote

41 thoughts on “What Does it Mean to Put your Hand on the Plow and Look Back? (Luke 9:62)

      • Here’s the verse, Garrick:

        14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
        18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:14-19


    • This scripture is thought provoking and all of us as Christian’s must be resolute in his commitment to Jesus Christ and the price He paid on the cross for humanity.
      Lord help me to be resolute in my commitment to you and your cause.


  1. I have always been looking for a thorough explanation about this verse and this morning this Scripture suddenly came to mind hence the search for a real spirit filled explanation and I found it.


    • Hi Margaret,

      I’m happy to know that this blog has helped you understand the deeper meaning of putting our hands on the plow. 🙂

      Let me know of other topics you might want me to cover in the future.

      Kind regards,


  2. It occured to me that Lot’s wife was turned to a pillar of salt for doing just that…would you say her act of looking back is a parallel warning from God?
    Thanks for your great insight.


  3. I have found this a very useful article and I have read it several times. I struggle with regret for a wasted opportunity and need to keep referring to this verse. Thank you.


  4. I am grieving the recent death of my sweetheart of 32 years. Compared to most people In this world, I have had more than my share of happiness. I know that GOD wants me to go on with my journey but I keep looking back to when John was here with me. Even when he was sick my life had purpose in caring for him. Now I am alone and struggle to keep my hands on the plow ; this passage makes me feel that I am failing.


    • Hi Judi,

      I’m sorry to hear about your loss. It takes time to move from this type of loss and I know it’s difficult, but sometimes, you just have to surrender everything to our Heavenly Father. I might not fully understand what you are going through right now, but He surely does.

      1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

      So, be at rest. Let God be your shelter.

      I pray that you get the strength to go through your trial…



      • This parable is worth reading.One who is committed to God should not back ir else he or she will lose lose eternal life.


  5. Along the spiritual path of awakening, the kingdom of God, to me, represents the spiritual power we all have within ourselves.
    The Sowing/Reaping Principle. (The Ploughing)
    Cultivating, nurturing an idea, dream, intention is fostering its growth into manifestation, reality.
    ‘Looking back’ is taking your eyes off the focus. ‘Looking Back’ is a metaphor for ‘doubt, fear, what if, or outside appearances that contradict your dream, aspiration.
    Not being fit just means stopping the momentum of creation of your intention ( with looking back)


  6. what a powerful insight Joshua. Thanks so much….This has really helped me alot to understand this scripture more deeper and also help to convince me the best way to live this life is doing it God’s way by loving his will and purpose and trust in His process….Thanks sir. Please can you throw more insight on luke 14: 26, 27 and 33. Thanks. God bless you


  7. In the depths of prayer and asking the Holy Spirit for guidance this passage has taken on a somewhat different meaning for me. And when it was revealed it became strikingly clear. As I observe my mind it is constantly obsessed with the past and projects past events into the future and then worries about them. I agree, putting one’s hand to the plow and looking back does indeed refer to the past. But not just my old ways, it refers to anything that keeps me away from the present interaction with the Holy Spirit. And Christ speaking about, “not worrying about tomorrow” references, for me, the projection into the future and all the worry that comes with it. I am a farmer, and whether plowing a field, discing, mowing, or other field work, it is very normal to look back as it assists in keeping one straight. It allows previous line spacing in the field to be compared etc… In my experience, the immediate connection with the Holy Spirit happens when the mind is free from past and future thinking and solely attentive to the Holy Spirit within. Luke 12: 36-48 talks about the ready and watchful servant. Living in this moment and ready for the master. The level of Christ’s Peace overwhelms me when I can be like this servant and all suffering dissipates. Christ’s words are so alive and so practical for our daily living.


  8. Dear Joshua, thanks for sharing the deeper meaning of looking back. I pray for grace to keep on pressing on till we reach the torch line. Many thanks


  9. Thanks for this great insight..I was really blessed And I pray that God will continuously ensure that i plough for his great works throughout my days on earth and never for once look back and prepare me to be fit for his kingdom and his mission for me here on earth and in heaven 🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️


  10. This message reawakens my spiritual consciousness despite the numerous distractions we face living in the midst of the complicated world.


    • Of course!

      As long as you genuinely repent of your sins and change your ways, God will welcome you back. 🙂

      Of course, don’t forget that there will be a time when it would be too late. So, don’t wait for that time when you lose all the chance the repent and change.


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