The Prophet Elijah invites Elisha son of Shaphat to be his student. Elisha’s response is one of total commitment. He says goodbye to his parents, slaughters his oxen, and burns his wooden yoke. Elisha has, in effect, told his parents that he will not fulfil his duty to care for them, and he abandons his farm. There is no going back. This is radical discipleship.
This is the classic model of discipleship that is recorded over the many centuries of the Bible. Whether it is the story of Abraham and Moses, or Peter James and John, each is asked to give up their life and follow a new one. I am inviting us to be aware of the things we cling to so tightly – they might just prevent us from the opportunity of learning new spiritual truths that bring us closer to God.
O'er the world's tempestuous sea;
Guard us, guide us, keep us, feed us,
For we have no help but thee;
Fifth Sunday after EpiphanyThe Cost of Ministry
(Scripture reference page 77 A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants)