Obedience – Time for Oxen BBQ?

1 Kings 19:19-21

19 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. 20 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?”

21 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.

God gives us so many good things in life.  Like the story of the rich young ruler from the earlier blog post, we all have those creature comforts that we would prefer to keep.  But, how do we respond when God calls us to let go of things that tie us to our past and keep us from fully serving Him?  Elisha wanted to say goodbye to his family.  Elijah’s response is harsh — Go back, what have I done to you?  But, Elijah knew that the call was urgent and immediate and that Elisha’s choice to leave his parents and job might be easy when compared to the tasks to which God was calling Elisha.  It was time for Elisha to discard the items that had him bound to his past.  Not only did Elisha have an oxen barbecue, he used his plow as the wood to do so.  No turning back.  Real commitment.  The call is for Elisha as it was for the Rich Young Ruler and as it is for us today.  Listen for God’s call, and obey him immediately regardless of what we appear to “give up.”  Completely remove all of the obstacles that tie us to our past in such a way that we can not go forward to fully serve God.  After all, it is all God’s in the first place.  It may not be time for an oxen BBQ, but it is likely time to consider what God has called us to leave behind to better be able to serve Him.

Dear God, please eradicate the things in my life that hold me back from fully serving you.  I want you to be first in my life, and I want to fully serve you – so substitutes, no delays, no excuses.  Help me identify and remove the things that block me from that service.  May my ear always be atuned to your call above the noises around me and may I always value your plans above my things.  Forgive me when I become prideful or make excuses.  Don’t give up on me.

How do you measure up?  The only one who knows is God, the one with the only measuring stick that matters.  Complete obedience?  What a tough measure!  Join me as we examine the ways that God measures our hearts and journey through our Christian lives together.

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