When I was in seminary I met many people who had left everything behind to answer God’s call to ministry. One very successful, middle-aged businessman closed his business and never looked back. Others sold homes, quit jobs, and moved far away from family.
I thought about my fellow students this morning during my daily Bible reading. In 1 Kings chapter 20 we read about Elisha’s call by God to be Elijah’s successor. When Elijah issued the call Elisha was plowing a field behind a yoke of oxen. Not only did Elisha answer the call he also slaughtered the oxen and cooked them over a fire fueled by the plowing equipment.
Now that’s commitment! There would be no turning back for Elisha. No changing his mind or deciding he heard wrong. He could only move forward in obedience to God’s plan for his life.
Jesus calls us all to discipleship – to follow wherever He leads and not turn back. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (See Luke 9:23-25.)
When we gain Christ we gain everything that truly matters. Yet to gain all of Christ we must let go of everything else. So often I hesitate. I want to follow Christ but I’m afraid to slaughter the oxen. I want to hang onto my earthly comforts and be master of my own schedule.
I long to be like Elisha who was so determined to follow wherever God led that he slaughtered the oxen and burned his farming equipment. No turning back.
What oxen do you need to kill today? What earthly things do you struggle to let go of so you can follow Jesus wherever He leads?