19 Elijah went straight out and found Elisha son of Shaphat in a field where there were twelve pairs of yoked oxen at work plowing; Elisha was in charge of the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak over him.20 Elisha deserted the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please! Let me kiss my father and mother good–bye—then I’ll follow you.” “Go ahead,” said Elijah, “but, mind you, don’t forget what I’ve just done to you.”21 So Elisha left; he took his yoke of oxen and butchered them. He made a fire with the plow and tackle and then boiled the meat—a true farewell meal for the family. Then he left and followed Elijah, becoming his right–hand man.—1 Kings 19:19-21,MSG
How do you know when the Lord is calling you to shift your future, energy, and direction? Is that something which happens suddenly and instantly or does it happen gradually and incrementally? I do not believe there is a definitive word on this. Clearly, the answer to both scenarios is “sometimes.” Ultimately, it depends on the sovereignty and providence of the Divine Caller, who interacts with the level of recognition and responsiveness of the called one. God will never strip us of the responsibility to exercise discernment nor the right to chose when, where, how, or whether we will respond.
The Narrator of 1 Kings 19:19-21 is a master at sketching out, with detail and deftness, this story of extending and answering the call of God. From the outset, he identifies briefly in Verse 19 the profile of key characters and the particular special features of date, place, and drama. The Narrator describes a simple set of actions, which occur in rapid-fire succession, although with deliberateness.
- Elijah looks for and locates Elisha.
- Elijah enters into the field where Elisha is working and places his cloak around him, symbolizing Elisha will be under his watchful eye and steadying hand.
- Elisha, immediately, turns away from his past and turns towards his future with Elijah.
- As he walks away, Elisha shares he must say his good-byes and express gratitude to his family and friends who have loved, affirmed, and invested in him all his life.
- Elisha, after saying his farewell, returns to the road of discipleship and destiny with Elijah, who will pour into Elisha all the knowledge and skills essential to being faithful and fruitful in his call.
In short, that’s it. Or, is it?
6 Truths We Can Learn and Live:
- Our “higher calling” always comes to us from God. That is, our calls begins with the Caller, not with us, the called. It’s not our idea, but God’s (See 1 Kings 19:16).
- Our “higher calling” only comes to us when we are faithful and fruitful in our current assignment (Vs. 19a-b).
- Others God uses to clarify our sense of call may sometimes say and do things which are confusing and cryptic at first, but make sense only after the fact (Vs. 19c).
- To answer your higher call, you must turn away from the familiar and turn towards an uncertain future (Vs. 20).
- When you first answer your higher call, exercise humility, flexibility, and attentiveness as you learn the tricks of your new trade.
- Never pursue your higher calling without first honoring pre-existing relationships which have nurtured, valued, and affirmed you(Vs. 21).
- Questions To Answer and Act On:
- Who is God calling you to take under your wing? How do you know?
- Is this a season when God is asking you to step out in faith and follow your higher calling? If so, how do you know? If you don’t, how will you find out?
- While you may have been planning to make a move in this season, have you made plans to honor and thank those who have helped you in your struggle to succeed?