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. (1 Kings 19:19-21)
Slaughter the oxen. Burn the plowing equipment with fire. Give the meat to the people. Wow, I don't know about you, but this is pretty disturbing, disruptive stuff. Pretty radical. I mean Elisha didn't just leave his old life behind, he destroyed it, and gave the remnants of it away. Coming back would never again be a possibility. His old life was completely gone, the new was all that remained. And something in me begins to stand on tip toe at the possibility of it all, while another part trembles and cowers in fear. Because I've come to know and understand that in this mysterious life with God disruption and disturbance, though difficult and chaotic and unsettling, are very, very good things. Maybe even some of the best of things.
I actually read these verses a week or two ago and they just won't go away; they've just kind of stuck to me. Which usually means that God has something specific to say to me through them, if I am willing and courageous enough to listen. On the surface, the whole scenario at least begs the question: "What about us? What must we slaughter, or burn, or give away (or all of the above), in response to the call God has on our lives? What does it look like in our particular context to fully follow Him?"
John Powell once wrote: "The experience of God touching and involving the human will in search may come to different men in different ways. There are many avenues of attraction to God. Some are drawn to him through his beauty, others to his peace, and still others are attracted by his power. Most men find themselves drawn to God as the source and wellspring of the very meaning of life, the ultimate ground of human existence. But it may be that the first motion of God within the believer-to-be is one of disturbance. Sometimes we forget that God comes to us, not only to give us peace but also to disturb us. He comforts the afflicted and he afflicts the comfortable."
I guess I'm still trying to figure all of that out. What about you? What does all of this do within you? Where are you being disrupted or disturbed? And is it possible that God has something of Himself he longs to give you in the process? What things might He be asking you to slaughter, or burn, or give away, in order to know him more deeply and follow him more fully?
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