He Burned the Plow

Sharon JaynesA Sudden Glory, Dealing with Your Past, Expectant Living, Living Free, Living Fully 80 Comments

He burned the plow.

Now before you decide that this post is too strange, I challenge you to stick with me a minute.

Sometimes when I’m reading the Bible, one little sentence jumps out and grabs me by the heart. That’s what happened today when I read 1 Kings 19:19-21. Take a look.

So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 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.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”

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.

He burned the plowing equipment.

That’s not one of those power verses that people memorize, put on their refrigerator door, or paint on an crafty plaque to post on Pinterest or Etsy. No, it’s not one of those. But perhaps is should be.

Let’s go back a moment and ponder these strange verses.

Elijah was a great prophet to whom God had given the power to speak a drought into existence, keep widow’s pantry mysteriously stocked, raise a widow’s dead son, and eliminate 850 false prophets in one day. But Elijah, this mighty man of God, got tired and depressed. Yes, he did.

So God decided it was time for Elijah to pass the baton to a younger man, and led him to a fellow plowing his field.

Elisha was just minding his own business and doing his job when Elijah walked up to and threw his cloak over him. I’m sure it seemed very “out of the blue” to this young man. But I’ve learned that often what seems “out of the blue” to me, is something God’s had in the works for quite some time. Tweet This.

We don’t know much about Elisha. He was just a workingman. Everyday, he got up, hooked up the oxen, and looked at their backsides. Nothing special. Nothing extraordinary. Just a workingman.

But God had a plan. He chose a man.

Now, here’s what grabbed my heart.

After Elijah threw his mantle over Elisha, which was a sign that he was passing his prophetical anointing to the younger man, Elisha went back to tell his family goodbye. He also had a giant barbeque celebration and sacrificed his oxen. He didn’t keep a few just incase this prophet gig didn’t work out.

He even burned the plow.

He burned the symbol of his former life.

He burned the source of his former livelihood.

There was no turning back.

There was no plan B.

There was no safety net.

He burned the plow.

It made me stop and think about my own commitment to Christ. Sure I sing, “I have decided, to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back.”

But are there parts of my old life that I hang on to? Old habits? Old desires? Old grudges?

Are there parts of your old life that you are hanging on to? Old habits? Old desires? Old grudges? Old relationships?

God may not be calling you do quit your job, but He may be calling you to do your job differently. He may be calling you to have a different attitude toward your work and view it as a high calling to be a reflection of His glory.

God may be calling you to go deeper so He can take you higher. Tweet This.

Just as Elijah placed his mantle on Elisha, God has placed His mantle on you! That mantle is the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in you and works through you.

You have been “clothed in Christ” (Galatians 3:27) and his mantle rests on your shoulders. You have been anointed and appointed (1 John 2:20). You have been chosen and handpicked to do work which He has planned in advance for you to do (Ephesians 1:4, 2:10).

Elisha did twice as many miracles as his predecessor. And here’s what Jesus says about you. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 NIV).

As long as our new lives in Christ are tethered to our past lives, we will never experience the abundant, exciting, adventurous faith filled with signs and wonder and power.

So here is my question to you AND to me. Will I burn the plow? Will you?

Today’s blog requires some pondering. Some praying. Some reflection.  It is for those who want to leave the safety of the shallow end of faith an dive deep.

Leave a comment and tell me one word that sums up how God spoke to you through today’s blog.


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Comments 80

  1. Sharon, I was struggling earlier this evening. It has been a life-long struggle with my deceased mom (2012). Its so very hard to forgive and forget what she had done to me. Every time someone else comments somewhere on what a great job she did I want to scream (inside). I fellowship with my grown children and other family on Facebook and every time someone wants to say something nice about her, I get upset, and angry.

    I think today’s lesson has brought this issue to my attention; this issue has been brought to my attention before by my husband too. I need to look forward and focus on what God has in store for me, instead of letting the small stuff get to me. I really need to love her no matter what. I need the Lord to show me how. I want to learn how to love her.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! I just want to encourage you about learning how to love your mom. I was 19 when my mom passed away from a failed liver due to alcoholism. I didn’t have a relationship with her because mostly she was drunk, sleeping or out somewhere with the people she drank with. She never once said she loved me and she let things happen to me because of the way she was. But, then there was my dad who was very violent, probably had depression and other mental issues. We watched her get beat many times and many other things over the course of those years. So as much as I hated her and was angry with her, at the same time I felt sorry for her. This went on for years. I had a lot of anger, mixed emotions and would cry to a God I wasn’t even sure was real and if He was, why did He hate us so much. Finally, when I was about 27, I had a complete major breakdown and was talking about her for the first time to a counselor, and it was the first time I had even barely touched on the subject of my mother, because I had always just felt so sorry for her so I couldn’t ever even think about talking about her in a negative way. But, I was so hurt and angry at her. So I just kept crying and crying and I could hardly even talk, first I was telling him about the things she did and then I said but my dad beat her up a lot…and then he stopped me and said “why are you making excuses for her”? And I just stopped and looked at him, because for the first time, I was able to understand no matter what, she still should have cared enough about us not to let things happen to us. It was o.k. to be angry with her.
      And I felt like 100,000 lbs just fell off of me! Now, I wasn’t cured overnite, but, that was the beginning of a long journey to where I am now. I was born again 3 years later and God has loved me and showed how to love her and my dad. They were both lost souls. And all I can do is hope and pray that they talked with God before they died. I hope and pray they are in heaven so I can see them again. I’m 51 now and it took years and God’s love to help me understand that if God can forgive me and love me after all I’ve done, then surely I can forgive them and love them too. But, even more than that, I think because God has shown me so much love, the hurt and pain is mostly gone. Yeah, still sometimes I wish we could have been a loving family with happy memories, but it didn’t work out that way. But, God loves us so much and I look forward to going home to Him someday and being with Him forever! And He’s given me 3 beautiful children, and His love which I don’t deserve. I just want to tell you how much God loves you and it might not happen overnite, but if you keep asking God to help you love not only those that are easy to love but even those who have hurt you, He will help you because He loves you so much! I wish I could explain to you how God has shown His love in my life. But, just keep going to him everytime you feel anger and hurt and He will help you. Give it time and never give up and if you ever need to talk, I would be so happy to talk with you. Email me if you ever need to. I’m so sorry you lost your mom. xo

      God Bless you and keep you,

  2. This brings the scripture to mind about Paul “forgetting those things that are past, and pressing toward the prize of the high calling of Christ Jesus”

  3. Two words: Surrender and obedience.

    By the way, am I the only one so far that caught the sentence where the prophet filled the widow’s p a n t y? I think you meant p a n t R y. LOL!

    1. Post
      1. I noticed that too. I was about to send you a private e-mail about it when I thought to check first and see if anyone beat me to it.

        Don’t get me wrong, I was in serious need of a laugh. It happened AGAIN this morning–I had a seemingly very simple technical-support question for a big-name company, and the people who could supposedly answer it in five minutes were hiding behind a pile of phone menus and have-to-have-the-full-information-on-your-account rules (never mind that the question was totally unrelated to any specific account; WHY is it that no big-name high-tech “communications” company believes in putting a simple e-contact link in plain view?). And I wound up with tears of rage flowing, the fear of being arrested the only thing that kept me from telling that company I hoped a “shooter” would visit their offices. I am so sick of what seems to me a near-universal attitude of “We’re too big and important to be bothered to treat you cogs-in-the-machine as human beings.”

        In light of that, I have to admit that the “old life” has a pretty strong hold on me in the area of “I can’t make any major changes until I finish everything else I’ve decided needs doing ASAP, and if God really cared He’d keep interruptions and inconveniences from coming along to complicate things still further.” I wish that the exact way to get rid of old attitudes was laid out as clearly and cleanly as lighting a match and being done with it!

  4. There’s so much here to take in. Read before falling asleep last nite to study this morning. Why did Elijah ask, “what have I done to you”?

    1. Looking at it in various translations, and comparing it to Luke 9:61-62, it could mean “You needn’t worry I’ll stop you from doing that, because I know it won’t change your mind about coming.” For some people, it’s perfectly proper to say a formal goodbye to those good elements (especially people) of the old life that won’t fit with where God is now calling them. Others simply use it as an excuse to be talked into staying in the old comfortable spot.

  5. I am going through so much right now finances sick husband mom staying with me because she is depressed and afraid to stay by herself It is six of us and I wonder why she needed to stay with me I myself have poor health and some nights I don’t rest no sleep..but every time I ask why God spoke into my spirit you are anointed and appointed for such a time as this !! So I have to press forward and not look back not to the right or to the left move forward !!!

  6. Thanks Sharon, God had spoken through you, I need to burn the plow, praying Him to give me the strength and wisdom I need. Thank you so much Lord for opening my eyes !.
    God bless you !. Lots of Love

  7. Hi the word is peace! Im starting new medicine today. New Doctor wheening me off of one and taking this other in place.( the new is much higher dosage! ) Ive been in comfort zone for yrs of the old medicines, which isn’t workin no more. My symptoms have leasened much but I have gotten much better. But my new doctor say not enough! He asked me if I wanna make old meds stronger, or go to different. I said NEW MEDICINE! What is strange he asked me if we met before! And he gave me back all my thick records of past 3 yrs ago saying HE DOESNT NEED NO MORE! So gal im trusting my heavenly father the doctor and I pray thet there will be no more guessing of what is best . I have my true doctor who knows what’s the best ! Be still and know im god! And trust him ! t

  8. Great post and message today. Just on yesterday on my job, I was able to see how in my job I am able to provide professional guidance to an employee but that I am also in this position to encourage and uplift because I was also able to inquire about the employee’s faith. There are times when I feel like I have to recreate myself in my job daily because the work is not facepaced or quantitative but as I tell one of my couterparts that we bring our expertise and skillset with us even if it is not necesarrily needed everyday.

    Well the employee left my office encouraged and hopeful and the testimony is that in less than 30 minutes the very same issues and matter that had her so down trotten and weighted was brought to light by another higher employee and the subject of the matter was immediately removed from the workplace.

    I thank God for my job the position that I have and how I have to be here even if its just for the one that might need reminiding that God is still in charge of everything. Your post encouraged me to just remain faithful to my job and to challenge myself to see purpose all to the glory of God. Blessings upon you.

  9. Thanks Sharon for being obedient to what the Holy Spirit has ministered to you.
    I guess He knew we all had to hear it.
    Have been struggling lately with my job and it was very comforting to know that God has His Mantle over me.
    O’ yes and typing error did make me laugh.
    God bless.

  10. Thank you for what I received from today’s post. Yesterday, I was able to see that I am right where I am suppose to be on my job. I was able to provide comfort, support and guidance on a professional level but also able to discuss faith with the employee that was very heavy and overwhelmed. About 30 mins after the employee left my office this very matter happen to and was exposed by higher ranking employee which caused light on the entire situation and immediate removal and remedy. After all had settled down I could witness the employee renewed faith. There are times when my job is slow and I feel challenged to reinvent myself or question what I am suppose to be doing. Today’s word helps me to identify in with the work and stewardship Elisha possessed and also challenges me to remain faithful to God in season and out of season. Thank you and blessing upon you.

  11. Very good insight! Sometimes it is hard to give up everything, we as humans think we have to have a Plan B. But GOD never has a Plan B. He just has a plan. & His plan is always for our good & HIs glory.

    Had to laugh at a typo though (sorry) It said he kept her PANTY stocked.

  12. Laughing. God said, “Your too serious readers need a smile.” So you made a typo. And then, the column left me thinking. Enjoyed.

  13. Propel! God wants to propel me forward but I have to fully step into what he has for me. I have to let Go and not ponder Plan B. I have to walk in full assurance that God’s plan is THE PLAN. I can’t glance back or look to the right or left; straight ahead only. That’s hard.

  14. my words: total makeover
    loved today’s post. usually dnt comment or even finish reading the posts but i really enjyed this ones esp the part abt the widow’s panties in the email- now that
    me made me laugh.

    keep it up sharon. will be reading more of your posts

  15. I left a one word answer, above but………Sharon…wow! I have been praying about this exact thing for a few weeks now. Have been trying to “rest” and wait to see what is next. I think he just wants me to rest for some reason that something unexpected is coming. I always fear that it is going to be something not so good…a health issue, a death, a job loss, etc etc. Why do I fear when I know that He has come through so many times before for me? I like what you said about not changing jobs but doing it differently. I know that I am here to pray for my office. Let me explain….my job is quite a mundane job, work-wise, not what I used to do before which held excitement and gratification working with children. Now I have an office job. It is not exciting, but there have been so many illnesses here and one death … the company is going through changes. It is in a transition…people who have been here a long time and are retiring soon…we have new fresh people coming in trying to learn the ropes…I sit here as the receptionist/adm. assistant and try to encourage them all in small ways. I have a candy jar at my desk, and they all come up when they need a breather. I just try and offer them a smile and try to brighten their day. This is the most favorite part of my job!! The more I think about this, the more I realize I am blessed…maybe I don’t really need to “drop my whole world” and do something “big” like travel to a third world country or sing in awesome praise band that travels around the world, which is my dream. I am just waiting for Him to show me, trying to be quiet, silent, and patient…trying to listen to HIS still small voice…it’s very difficult and not what I’m used to…God made me a very social and gregarious person, so this is difficult for me. The story of Elijah excites me! That he just knew to drop it and walk away and follow…appeals to my adventurous nature!! Please pray for me that I will follow His plan for me, always!

  16. Well, as you say, it requires some praying and time. I really hope that if my time comes I’ll be able to identify it and burn the plow. It is very inspiring, in my case our live is changing and I don’t know where is going, but surely the Lord does, and that is my strength and my hope.

  17. Through tears streaking down my face, I told my husband this morning that I refused to go back to who I was and dwell in the pain of my past. I truly desire to better in my thinking, in how I love, and how I see those around me. I prayed (no…I pleaded) last night for Jesus to give me His eyes and heart to love those “sandpaper” people in my life. He answered through my devotions today. Thank you, Father, and thank you, Sharon.

  18. Get rid of the plow and cultivate the present and thank God for His mighty hands and devoted love and wisdom. Praise God from whom all Blessing flow…. Amen.

  19. Timely. We felt led to put our house on the market. It was listed yesterday. Last night my husband and I were “looking back” wondering why we were selling it. I prayed for confirmation. When I saw the phrase “He burned the plow” in my subject line on my email, I knew I had my answer. Thank you.

  20. You have planted a seed in me today. I have much to ponder, and much to toss into a “garbage can”. I am 73 and it seems that I have been fighting myself much of my life, and I am very weary. God saved my life when I was going to commit suicide at the age of 29. For 2 years nothing in this world could hurt me as it did before He showed that He was indeed real and caring. After that 2 years I began to get back into the world and started to face what I could not handle previously. It’s been a long, difficult, rewarding, tiring gifted time over these many years. I have had many a miracle in my lifetime, none of which I feel worthy to have received, but that is how good God is. Yet, I find myself once again, tired, wanting to quit, wondering where my courage went, and what it is that the Lord would have me do to find that peace’ beyond understanding’ once again. Please pray that I will burn my plow(s), let go and let God. I thank you.

  21. “Insecurity” is the word that came to me. My marriage is in the process of being reconciled after infidelity. It is very hard because I had self-esteem and insecurity issues before it happened, now they haunt me. I know these feeling don’t come from God and I know who I am in Him and as I continue to cling to my God, I am secure.

    Thank you for all you do in your ministry. I also receive Girlfriends in God and I can’t even tell you how grateful I am for your ministries, they have been the vessel that God has used to get me through the last year.

  22. Freedom. If I give God the controls then I have the freedom to follow him completely surrounded by Him and confident that His plan is the absolute best for me.

  23. No accident I came across your blog,very nicely done, God did ask me to quite my job, single mom of 4 right before the holidays. oh my on my bday no less. Thankful He has a Big plan for us.Time to move forward and upward. Trust, Thank you for your faithfulness. Blessing.

  24. WOW, I have been in a study on Chase the Lion. I have felt like my safe life and safe witness is “safe”. I have felt like I am to step out and be bold for our Lord. Another confirmation on that. Praying to be open to where God is leading.

  25. Someone was praying with me in church on Sunday and gave me a word. She said “yield” God wants me to “yield”. I want to, but I can’t figure out how to. But, your story definitely, has brought that word to me again……I’m still trying to figure out how…….

  26. My one word is : wow! You were really talking to me today! Thank you so much for what you do. And I thank God for you and for working through you.

  27. Perfect timing. I am teaching a Sunday school class on the book greater. Today’s post and comments will help me with this lesson. People have a hard time leaving their comfort zone. Maybe it’s not the greatest life but they know what to expect. I’m hoping some of the comments will encourage my class to really let go and trust in the plan god has for their lives. Not only them but I pray that god will humble my heart also and I can rid myself of the things that just don’t belong there.

  28. It’s amazing how GOD works, just a few days back God Propelled me to read books in the old testament and just last night i was reading about Elijah and Elisha and i feel that this is God answering my prayers on the fears I have and believing in what God has started in me…Deeper to Higher,definitely going on my fridge…

  29. Timely … Isn’t God always this way. I have been pondering if some of the things in my life … are they okay, burdensome, I am over analyzing … This and several other sources of ‘counsel’ have lead me to believe these things are weighing me down. They are neither inherently evil or bad, just not what God would have for me. They are hindering me from freedom to serve abundantly.

  30. Thanks Sharon, God has spoken through you.
    The Lord speaks every day to each one of His people, His sheep know His voice, and they follow Him because they recognize it. God keeps widows pantry stocked and Elisha burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and give to his people.
    “We need the strong meat of the Scriptures to build ourselves up and give us the container for gathering His manna.

  31. Hi! I grew up in a Christian home but somewhere in my early teens I lost my way and started denying the existence of God. It’s taken me a few years but I’m finally back where I belong. I am still struggling though. Pray for me, for my faith not to waver, for my commitment to grow, for me to find the answers I seek, to let go of the things that are holding me back( burning the plow is harder than it seems) and most importantly to get to know God and love him completely.

    thank you and God Bless you

  32. Thanks so much for this post or is confirmation to a conversation I had with my best friend who stated toe how can your past be your past if it is your present! Move fwd and don’t look back. I have burned the plow. No more trying to come up with a plan b. walking totally and completely in faith and trusting God!

  33. BELIEVE! I’ve been crying, fasting and praying for God to open the doors to a career in my life since graduation in 2009. Just last week HE made it happen. I was obedient to specific places He told me to go and the rest is history. I am sitting at my new desk in my own office for the first time in my life. I want to continue to build my Faith and relationship with Him because things may change again with my career life but He is Forever Faithful to me and I will be to Him. I will strive to not let my circumstances and seasons and storms (which are ever changing) to deter my belief in Him. I have random moments of temptation that refer back to old ways but I will not succumb. I’ve come so far to start over. This IS My Year of Elevation!! Onward and upward! Thank you so much Sharon because this gave me the confirmation to be steadfast and grow in the glory of God.

  34. I need to be more THANKFUL for where I am in life compared to where I used to be. I’ve been able to grow abundantly in my faith and in my passion for Jesus. Sometimes I become discontent in life, but then I realize that I’ve come so far and I should focus on what’s in front of me rather than what is behind.

  35. I need to Burn the Plow, LORD…to lay aside every weight of sin that cling so closely.. so I can ran again with perseverance the race you set before me, looking unto Jesus, the perfecter of my faith…enable me Lord!!!! ,,,

  36. So here I am, 7 years later. I am doing a study on Elijah and Elisha, God laid it on my heart. and I have been sharing in my small group. I am pleasantly surprised to come across your blog, and I think I found the reason why God laid this on my heart. My word is consistency.
    Thank you.

  37. I was googling I Kings 19:21 and found your blog. So appropriate and helpful as I consider new job options during this Covid pandemic. Thank you, Sharon.

  38. Oh my God! I’m in tears right now….I had a dream that I was burning grass and I couldn’t understand it….I asked the Lord to show me what it means and today I found this blog…..
    I need to let go of the hurts in my past caused by husband and his family…..especially my husbands admiration for another woman….
    Please pray that God helps me through this ….it happened years ago and I still remember it as if it happened yesterday and I also want him to keep away from that woman as well….
    Thank you….
    Glory to God…

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