Elijah. One of the most well known Old Testament prophets. Elisha. One of the lesser known ‘Joe Schmoe’s because all we know is that he’s just a guy plowing a field. We don’t even know if he was holy. This is all you need to know as background information.
Now, I want to share a story found in the book of Kings with you…
So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!”
Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.”
So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant. (1 Kings 19:19-21)
Can someone please tell me that what Elisha did wasn’t the least bit shocking?! God wants to do AMAZING things in YOUR life. It says in John 14:12 that because He has ascended, that we will do even GREATER things through Him and His spirit. Are you hooked yet?
So back to Elisha… he was like you and I- stuck in the daily grind of doing what we do with our lives: make money to pay the bills, plan/raise/feed the family, go to Church, etc. These things can become routine for many of us and eventually we will get locked into a set life. Is that really what God wants for us?
As a second thought- perhaps our lives are constantly changing but we can’t seem to find the flame that’s going to truly ignite God’s vision for our lives. In that case we need to slow down. Like Paul says in Corinthians, don’t even bother going to consume solid food if you aren’t ready for it yet. As a matter of fact, research has shown that it takes us 15 minutes for our brain to register that we are full. If this is one of the reasons there are issues with obesity, imagine how we could apply this to our spiritual lives and improve our spiritual health. With that being said, are you going to let God speak to you before ‘the damage’ (whatever that may be in your life) is done? Just a thought.
Elisha. Stuck in the monotony of “The Daily Grind”. Do you feel trapped in your workplace? Trapped in your life? Does your life seem to be caving in around you? God has even GREATER things planned for you- but are you ready?
Take note of what Elisha did when Elijah threw the cloak onto him as he was plowing. He left the oxen and ran after Elijah. Crazy, huh? Are you prepared to leave your daily grind, pick up your cross, and follow Him daily?
Now- what I didn’t mention to you in the background information was that God had actually spoke to Elijah and told him to anoint Elisha to replace him (Elijah) as His (God’s) prophet. Just read 1 Kings 19:10-18. You see- Elisha was just going about his daily business when Elijah gave him a sign. He threw a cloak on him. Wow. Really? I could use a sign like that from God. But seriously- what does that even mean… it was just a cloak. He didn’t say “Hey, wanna be my successor as a Prophet?”. Nothing. Elisha had no idea that God was going to use Him for greater things. But he had to make a choice. Is there a message that seems to be hitting you on the head over and over again? Otherwise, if you don’t seem to notice anything try surrounding yourself with God-centered people. Eventually it will break through- just maybe not as obviously as you think. Did the cloak really make it that obvious?
We jump to the next verse and notice something important. Elijah didn’t force Elisha to do or say anything. He only threw a cloak on him (as I said earlier- and I can’t stress the importance of that seemingly insignificant event enough!) Elisha went to bid farewell to his mother and father, and Elijah warns him to think about what he has done to him. Is God going to coerce you into making a decision? Probably not. Actually- never. Is God going to try and lead you to a greater life? You bet’cha! The question that remains now is how do I get to this greater life?
Pay attention to what Elisha did after he was called on by God (through Elijah). As crazy as it sounds, he killed his oxen and used his plows as firewood to cook them. Then he fed the meat to his neighbors. And left and went with Elijah. Absolutely INSANE if you ask me. But I believe this is exactly how God wants us to approach a greater life. God wants us to forget about routine life. In fact, you should be willing enough to COMPLETELY disconnect yourself from any remote possibility of going back to your old way of living. And this is precisely what Elisha did. No more mules, no more plows. Ready to go.
Before I sum this all up, let me ask you- what is acting as a plow in your life? Here are a few ideas:
- A life that’s a little too safe
- A lifestyle that’s a little too comfortable and doesn’t focus on God
- A monotonus, boring job thats not in-line with what God wants for you
- A bad habit / routine living
- A not-so-bad habit but acts as a stumbling block in your life
The list goes on… but this is the take away. God tells us to trust Him with whatever outcome we face. That we should act faithful to His word and follow it carefully. He won’t tell you how He will do things, only that he will do it. (Go back and read John 14:12 if you forgot!) When Jesus says to go and make disciples, does He then hand them a how to manual or a step-by-step guide? I don’t think so. He will be faithful to his end of deal. He will do the showing if you will do the going. Don’t think too far ahead about where you may end up, just go. If he told you the whole plan, you might freak out. (Take a look at the book of Habakuk for that one).
He’s trying to teach you how to walk by faith and into greater things.