Today, as we pick back up in our series called GREATER THINGS we are going to look at Elisha’s life after he received his calling. Remember he was just going about his business working the soil when he was called by God—there was a celebration, he had the cloak of Elijah placed on him—a great honor, he was going to get to be the next great prophet of Israel, train under the legendary Elijah, and yet what remained was the most difficult step of all: Obedience to the calling. In our text today from 1 Kings 19 and 2 Kings 2, we are going to find the keys to a faith that is quickening rather than quicksand- a faith that moves us forward, fires us up, and focuses us on the mission rather than leaving a Quicksand casualty! Remember where we left off, his first response to the calling was the obedience of…
Creating Space (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.Elisha burns the tools of his old life. From the outside looking in, the act of cutting away from the past may seem crazy, insane, radical, and maybe even irresponsible. Yet, Elisha is cutting away any opportunity to play it safe or leave his past to clutter up his future. We sometimes think, I’ll add a little Jesus to my life, I’ll follow what I like, or add a little to my kid’s life, teach them a little morality, but what Jesus has in mind is modification but transformation. He wants an opportunity to take control and do something in your life that you could never do alone, but it only comes when we surrender. Steve Furtick in his book Greater put it this way, “When we surrender to the call we seemingly lose control of circumstances, but only because God is taking control of the outcome.” When you let go, he will show himself. Yet, we are hesitant to give up control.
We try not to think about where we are struggling hoping that if we don’t look too closely things will look fine from the outside, if we don’t think too deeply about our struggles we can chalk them up as normal. Don’t rock the boat and nothing seemingly needs attention. Mike Foster in his book People of the Second Chance shared about a community in communist-controlled North Korea that fit the bill. “The town of Kijong-dong is just across the demilitarized zone from the neighboring South Korea. The community is filled with beautiful white buildings with light-blue roofs. From a distance Kijong-dong looks like a prosperous community” seeming like a communistic postcard, a thriving village. “And that’s what the communist regime of North Korea wants you to believe. The town has been specifically designed to resemble a thriving village, supposedly to lure possible defectors from the south. But on closer inspection you would notice that the buildings have no glass in the windows. Automatic timers turn the lights on and off. No one actually lives in Kijong-dong. It is only a façade of a flourishing town. It is a lie.
Too often, we live life pretending to be residents in a reality that doesn’t exist; we can put on the automatic smile and have the pre-programmed canned answers (if I could just keep people at arms length or God away—they won’t know what’s really going on. We can fool almost anyone, even ourselves, but we can’t fool God). We can act like we have it all together while we sink deeper into the quicksand. The statistics are alarming: 50% of Christian men & 20% of Christian women admitted to an addiction to pornography. Christians are caught up in debt. Marriages are in trouble. Instead of being a sinker it is time to wake up and stand apart. Paul wrote: let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. When is the last time you’ve created space for God to work in your life—time for him to speak to you through God’s word, time for him to work through your budget, your schedule, your interactions to reach the lost. When is the last time you’ve created margin for God to move?