Greater Than Good

Elisha had been willing to do what many are not—creating space-cutting free from the past in order to embrace the future calling. Finding that radical amputation did not leave him with less, but left him with more as he embraced the radical opportunity …but look at how the account moves along, giving us some:

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Radical Observations (2 Kings 2:13-15) (Elisha) picked up the coat that had fallen from Elijah. He went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan River. Then he struck the water with Elijah’s coat. “Where is the power of the Lord?” he asked. “Where is the power of the God of Elijah?” When Elisha struck the water, it parted to the right and to the left. He went across the river. The company of the prophets from Jericho were watching. They said, “The spirit of Elijah has been given to Elisha.” They went over to him. They bowed down to him with their faces toward the ground.

As the Israelites once crossed the Jordan on dry ground ending their Exodus, Elisha now walks across the Jordan on dry ground confirming his transition and installation. He has officially taken up the mantle of his mentor, becoming the chief prophet to Israel. It is easy to miss in the whirlwind of activity, in the momentous moments just how radically God was working or to say “Wow, look at how amazing Elisha is now!” Don’t miss this—time and time again—God doesn’t use good people he uses faithful ones. Here in our story, he has taken a young man working in the fields, we get no comment on his education, his charisma, his IQ, his religiosity, and all we see is that he was faithful.The world tells us—Be good enough if you want to be loved. Think about it—if all about being good, which every other religion says it is—Judaism, Islam, Buddhism (self-purification), Hinduism (karma and reincarnation)—How Good is Good Enough? It sneaks into our mindset without even noticing—We feel like we are only as good as our last sale, promotion, our last meeting, our last sermon. We take the focus off God and put it on our performance and we sink! People become our audience instead of God.

What would it look like if the world was good 99% of the time? No phone service for 15 minutes each day. 1.7 million pieces of first class mail lost each day. 35,000 newborn babies dropped by doctors or nurses each year 200,000 people getting the wrong drug prescriptions, each year you would drink unsafe drinking water three days a year. Three misspelled words on the average page of type. 2 million people would die from food poisoning each year. There is no end—there is no hope—there is no transformation only the despair that comes when our best isn’t good enough to make us good.

Yet, in contrast, Jesus welcomes into heaven not good people, but grace-filled once! Christ tells us—you are loved and I am great enough to take your place as the sinless suffering servant.  Hopefully it all starts to make sense—Jesus calls you to follow him, not because he is an ego-maniac. He realizes what is at stake–without him there is no hope for us, but in Him there is perfect love that drives out fear. Perfect love that allows us to love in response. Instead of a rat race to be good, we find goodness is a response to being united to God, not a prerequisite.

Therefore, nothing external that precludes you from being part of God’s eternal plan to seek and save the lost. All that stands in your way is YOU—will you cut away to make room to ferociously follow Jesus Christ? Will you be obedient to your calling? What awaits is a full portion of the Holy Spirit—Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is time to grab a hold of the hand that plunged after us as we were submerged in the quicksand and take a full breath of what God has in store. It is time to go from good to greater things!

 

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