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.
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.