Greater Things: Last Days

Sometimes first days are scary, the first day of high school can be intimidating, the first day of tryouts can leave your stomach queasy, the first day of a new job or new relationship can leave you nervous, but those are the days we feel most alive. Yet, we only have so many hours in the day, only so much focus and attention. A new day often only comes when we realize we have to embrace some

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Last Days (1 Kings 19:21) 21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

This is where things get crazy cool! Elisha went back to say goodbye to his parents, and he took the yoke that he had used to build up the life that was so comfortable and profitable and he started breaking it apart. He didn’t store it in a barn, just in case things didn’t work out. He took the oxen and started slaughtering them, not putting them out to pasture in case things didn’t work out.  Yet from seemingly a destructive act—Elisha reaches out to all the people—solidifying his new calling as a prophet of God—a celebration of a calling—and    then he followed Elijah. Where do you need to cut ties with the past, some of you have probably been living two lives-one foot in the past and one in the future—feeling the tension of those two worlds daily colliding together, others have been carrying the weight of past failures, or broken relationships, and we fight to be good, when God beckons us to what’s greater. No going back to what didn’t work.

Sometimes it takes breaking the mold, burning the yokes to bring a new day. Most people don’t know, but before George Washington was a Revolutionary General before he was President, he had to break the mold.As you walk around his beautiful estate called Mount Vernon, it looks picturesque, and yet what oftentimes is overlooked is that almost every major plantation his size and bigger was going broken. They would harvest cash crops, sell them to the British ships, and get a catalogue for goods. Throughout the year as they made their orders, the same British ship would come back with their goods ready to pick up the next year’s harvest and present the land owner with a bill. The British added transportation fees both directions; they set the price of finished good coming from Britain, even though they used the goods from the American plantations. So George Washington, even though he was told he was crazy by all his fellow plantation owners decided he was no longer playing by the rules as he found them. He sent his slaves to learn trades in Britain; he grew the crops that he needed for finished products rather than cash crops to be sold to British merchants. By the end he became the richest person in America.

What do you need to say goodbye to going into 2017 so you can be used by God in compelling ways? What yokes need to be burned? Jesus said, If your eye causes you to sin pluck it out, cut away what threatens to kill you. What last day will you embrace as the the means of a vibrant first day? It can be scary stepping away from what we know, but remember, we might not always know where God is leading, or what God has in store for us, but we always can know who is leading us.  Christ broke the mold for us. Jesus broke into humanity, took on flesh, lived a sinless life—and then sacrificed it on the cross so we could overcome through his grace. He experienced your baggage so you could let go of it! Then only one step is left.

In Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, talking to the American people in the midst of economic stagnation and malaise, he reminded them that he did not believe in a fate that would occur regardless of what action was taken, but he said, “I do believe in a fate if we do nothing!” The time for action is NOW!

 

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