Greater Things- First Day

In the midst of the everyday comes the opportunity for something different, something out of the ordinary…not an everyday, but a…

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First Day (1 Kings 19:19c) Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him.

It doesn’t sound like anything really that noteworthy, but in this Jewish culture the cloak represents the calling. (Like the Wild West, if you got deputized with a badge.) The cloak in the same way was used as protection in bad weather, bedding on rough ground, a pad to sit on, luggage to get around, a pledge to pay a debt, was actually torn to pieces as a sign of joining in the grief of another. God started to prepare a transition. Elisha would be the next great prophet of God! This day was unlike any before it or after it, this was the First Day of a new adventure, a mission on behalf of God. Elisha’s response is so interesting- 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”  This calling is an interruption of life as Elisha knew it and as a result there is a tension between what he knows and the unknown before him; between the past and this potentially amazing future; what is good and what might be greater.As all interruptions do, they occur when you least expect it, when it is anything but planned, and oftentimes when it is inconvenient. Yet first days are the gateways to something greater.  It was 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon in October I was driving home from Lincoln, IL—after another routine day at seminary—looks of sitting, listening, note taking—when my songfest with the radio was interrupted by a phone call. Despite the legality of answering—I risked it and on the phone was Michelle McGowan, who many of you met—she called from In His Hands Orphan Outreach—saying that a soon to be mother in Springfield had contacted her, that she had prayed for prospective parents, and that we kept coming to mind, regardless of the fact that we had only met briefly twice, months before.  She needed an answer! It was a moment in which time stood still—the car kept moving but I was on the side of the road in a haze—an interruption that changed our life! God had used an interruption to provide a new direction. It was an interruption only until it became an invention. Where is God trying to use what looks like an interruption to have an intervention in your life?

Sometimes we push back on what we think is an interruption: “We’ve never done it like this before or I’m not interested in trying something new—I’m good.”  Yet God has a way of trying to interrupt our routines to bring revelation. Maybe you’ve never sat down to study the Bible in a one on one setting and yet the interruption can intervene with intimacy. Maybe you’ve never found the time or desire to be part of a small group—and yet God can use the interruption to intervene in the culture. Maybe you aren’t a member or haven’t even solidified your faith—maybe church feels like an interruption of your life, but if you’re open God can use the interruption and allow God’s truth to intervene in your life? God might be calling us away from our good towards His greater!

When we do something we’ve never done before—let’s rejoice that we are growing, if we fail let’s learn why and try again. If you get pushed out of your comfort zone—rejoice that you are being stretched. When it gets messy, and we have kids scuffing up the walls, people smell like alcohol in the pew in front of you, we have babies crying in the middle of the sermon—let’s rejoice that each messy moment means we are doing ministry.

 

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