Lately I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Elisha’s calling in I Kings 19. The Lord spoke to Elijah to anoint him as his successor. When he arrived to anoint him, he found Elisha in a field plowing. He was doing his daily duties when the prophet of God walked up to him. The Bible doesn’t show that Elijah said anything. He simply walked up to him, put his cloak on him and walked away.
I don’t know if they ever met or if Elisha knew it was Elijah, but something in him knew this was a significant moment in time. He ran after Elijah and said he would follow him, but wanted to say goodbye to his mom and dad. He then broke the yoke and plow to use for firewood, slaughtered the oxen he was using and cooked a feast for his family. After that, he followed Elijah everywhere.
It’s got me wondering how many times has God tried to approach me in my daily life to call me to do something. Elisha wasn’t looking for God to call him to leave his family. He was minding his own business doing what fed his family when God called him. What if he had said, “Let me finish this field before I follow you,”? What if he had said, “I can’t leave right now. I’m doing something important”?
Are we too busy doing “important” things that we miss God’s daily calls to us? Are we so tied up doing what doesn’t make a difference for eternity that we can’t stop and do what will? I know we have to make a living, but do we take time throughout the day to shine our light so we can lead others to Christ? Ultimately what matters is what we do for Christ. Our bank accounts, our retirement fund and jobs are temporary. What’s done for the Kingdom is what will last.
What changes do we need to make in our lives today to change our focus from our earthly retirement to our heavenly retirement? When God asks us to do something that matters for eternity, will we be willing to do it? I hope I am. I want to be ready and willing to burn my plows when God calls. I don’t want to be the one who keeps plowing when He calls. I want to be willing to follow when and where He leads.
Our church class was watching the video from the group study version of “Greater” by Steven Furtick when he said something that has had me thinking for a while now. He referenced Luke 5 where Jesus called Simon (Peter) to follow him. Jesus was walking on the shore of Galilee and the crowds were pressing in to hear Him speak. He looked over, saw a couple of boats and asked to borrow one. Peter rowed a little from land and Jesus spoke to the crowd.
Here’s what Steven asked that got me: “Why did Jesus ask for the boat? He didn’t need it. He later proved He could walk on water. He was looking for obedience.” I hope that sinks in for you like it has for me. Jesus performed many miracles in His ministry. He could have easily walked on water this day as He did later. Instead He chose to ask Peter for his boat.
Isn’t that like God? He doesn’t need our help or resources, but He chooses to give us opportunities to obey and to collaborate with Him. He doesn’t need what you and I have. After all, it’s His anyway. He simply is wanting to know if we recognize that and are willing to give back to Him what He’s given to us. Obedience is more important to Him than anything. The level of obedience we give Him is the level of greatness we can attain through Him.
Many of us wait for a sign or confirmation before we’re obedient. We often think we have to be doing amazing things for God before He uses us or asks something of us. In Luke 5, Peter had just finished fishing. He had emptied his boat and was cleaning his nets. That’s every day mundane stuff he was doing when Jesus approached him. He wasn’t looking for Jesus to come interrupt his day. He wasn’t praying and asking God to give Him something to do. He was cleaning his nets.
To you and me, that’s like sending emails, filing paperwork, submitting reports and things like that. God can enter your workspace, your everyday life, and ask you to be obedient. Letting Jesus use the boat was no big deal. He rowed out a little ways and dropped anchor. Because of his obedience though, he got a front row seat to a sermon from Jesus. He got to see the faces of the people Jesus was ministering to and healing. He got a glimpse of what life would be like if he obeyed what Jesus asked him to do next: come follow me.
You may not be looking for Jesus at work or in your every day life today. You may be doing your regular schedule of things to do on a day like today. If God comes in and asks for something from you, no matter how small, do it. He doesn’t need what you have to accomplish what He wants. He’s simply giving you the opportunity to partner with Him through obedience. Who knows what you’ll have a front row to. I bet it will be amazing!