Jesus declared, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’”

Luke 9:62


Notes for Contemplation as You Use this Devotional:

  • This passage from the Gospel Writer Called Luke comes from the section usually titled, “The Price (or Cost) of Discipleship.”
  • Using a first-century example his followers will understand, Jesus explains that if we want to plow straight rows, we must focus ahead. Otherwise, the rows become crooked. Likewise, to move forward, but look over our shoulder (or in the rearview mirror), means that our life is off course.  So, we must direct our intentions, like our faith, where we want them to go.
  • While we live in the literal kingdom of God on Earth, the kingdom of God also dwells within us. Experiencing the kingdom is feeling God in the midst of everything occurring in our lives.
  • A disciple is one who learns particular teachings, as well as one who adheres to a specific life philosophy.
  • The art of subtraction is the practice of removing everything extraneous so a clear concept or theme can be revealed. It’s esteemed in architecture, business, engineering, interior design, fine art, and mathematics, among other fields.
  • Subtraction helps you dive deeper, rather than spread yourself too thin. It requires that you do and/or have less, so you can devote more attention, energy, and time to what truly touches your heart, nurtures your soul, and benefits your life, and others’ lives, too.
  • Demonstration is the evidence you can see of what does or doesn’t work for you. If you’re constantly overwhelmed, overdoing, and/or overloaded, or if you often feel anxious, exhausted, and/or resentful, then you likely need to subtract something from your life.
  • Spiritually, subtraction means focusing only on what serves you and your purpose. But this isn’t a selfish, “me-me-me” perspective. Instead, it lets you fully experience the kingdom of God in all aspects of your life.
  • Plowing a field symbolizes how you choose to live. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is one of the ways you may take your eyes off your purpose. To master the art of subtraction, gracefully accept that you’ll miss some things because other things matter more.
  • You determine the price (cost) of what’s most important. As you tune into your intuition and sense the subtle energy in your body, you’ll notice what truly serves you. Then you can discern what’s extraneous and subtract it.  For example, you feel relieved when you resign from a committee and more comfortable when you declutter your living space.


Contemplation Questions:

As you reflect on your life and circumstances, ask yourself:

  • What do I truly want to be, have, and/or do?
    • Without analysis or judgment, list, word map, or illustrate as much as applies, no matter what it is.
  • What do I fear that I’ll miss?
    • Without analysis or judgment, list, word map, or illustrate as much as applies.
  • Where am I directing my attention, energy, and time?
    • Without analysis or judgment, list, word map, or illustrate the direction.
  • When I contemplate my direction, how do my efforts:
    • support me in living my true desires?
      • List, word map, or illustrate whatever supports.
    • distract me from living my true desires?
      • List, word map, or illustrate whatever distracts.
  • When I reflect on my desires, what do I imagine subtracting?
    • List, word map, or illustrate as much as you imagine.
  • What will I actually gain by subtracting the extraneous?
    • List, word map, or illustrate as much as you can.

Be gentle with yourself as you use this devotional, slowly assessing what you value most. While it may have seemed easier to add, in truth you’ll discover more ease, energy, and peace of mind as you subtract.  Focus on moving forward confidently and trust your intuition to guide you.

© 2023 – Rev Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved.

Photo from Shutterstock by Petkowicz.

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