Photo by Dave Hoefler
So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant. 1 kings 19:21
When God calls Elisha, he immediately follows Elijah but then does something worth noting. He turns back; burns the plow and sacrifices the oxen, and then follows the call of God for his life.
Removing our options
When God calls us, we are often in the middle of something else. Sometimes it’s things we have done for a long time. And we are a little attached to them. It becomes hard to transition to the new thing He is asking us to do. We can be tempted to leave our options open. We say to ourselves, “ I will not completely close this door so that I can have something to come back to if this doesn’t work out.”
Nothing God calls us to will fail, the only way it will fail is if we refuse to show up to it wholeheartedly. We cannot do the call and do our own things on the side. God requires complete commitment to anything He tells us to do. Elisha knew this, so, to remove the option of turning back when things became hard, he burned the plow. He removed his options.
Some of us are holding on to jobs and things that God told us to leave a long time ago. We are holding doors open that we were supposed to close a long time ago. We are crying out to God for the next but we have refused to let go of the old.
We will not see the fullness of what He is calling us to until we release what we’ve been hanging on to. Letting go requires trust and that’s what God is asking for. Elisha didn’t know how this thing was going to work out, he just had faith in the God who had called him.
No looking back
Jesus replied, “ No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
We cannot follow God and look back. We have to make a firm decision that we are going after Him and leaving everything behind. If we look back God will disqualify us and deems us unworthy.
Elisha had this conviction that God was worth the sacrifice of leaving everything behind. He didn’t hesitate to follow him.
There are so many things that can make us look back from following God. We can look back because of our friends and family. We can look back because of our previous success. We can look back to a life of comfort. We can be tempted to look back to the life we had before we said yes to God.
Following God isn’t easy. If it was easy, people would never go back. There are so many people who have gone back from following God because they weren’t prepared for the obstacles that come with following Him.
Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “ We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Acts 14:22
There is no other way into the kingdom of God but through difficulty. Most people cannot get past this. We must pay a price for His kingdom, because of the things we access once we are in it. Dominion, authority, power, royalty, and reigning on the earth, all come with the kingdom. If God would give us these things without a cost we would misuse them.
Breaking our associations
Elisha not only burns the plow, but he also breaks up his associations.
Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “ Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “ and then I will come with you.” 1 Kings 19:20
Elisha says goodbye to his associations. He knew he couldn’t follow God’s call and be attached to the people who loved him. It seems unnecessary but it is important.
Saying goodbye does not mean detaching ourselves from our family completely. It’s deciding that their opinion will not matter above God’s. It’s deciding our love for them will not be greater than our love for God. We disattach from our associations to follow God undividedly. We make a decision that we will not elevate what they think about us and allow it to lead us to disobey God.
We cannot have any relationship that takes preeminence over God.
Jesus says,” anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37 This includes our spouses, siblings, or friends. No relationships can be above Him
A hundred fold Return
Peter answered him, “we have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Matthew 19:27
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “ No one who has left home, or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields- along with persecutions- and in the age to come eternal life. Mark 10:29-30
We receive a hundred times what we’ve lost to follow God. But something else is added-persecutions. People will persecute us for the blessing of God on our lives, it’s guaranteed. Our reward isn’t just in this life but also in eternity.
Whatever God has asked you to lay down, It’s not without a reward.
Disclaimer! We don’t follow Him for the things we will get; we follow Him because He is worth it. We gladly lay down anything and everything He asks us to because we know He is worthy.
May we burn the plow and courageously follow after God!