Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I will follow

1Ki 19:19-21  So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him.  He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." Then Elijah said to him, "Go back again; for what have I done to you?"  He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

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.     

Prayer: Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us
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 Epiphany
The Cost of Ministry
(Scripture reference page 77 A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants)



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