Leaving Everything to Get it All

Elisha left everything just to become a servant. Following his victory over the prophets of Baal in the god contest—and after his subsequent meltdown—Elijah got God’s approval for retirement, though he first had to find and train his replacement. His replacement was named Elisha. Elisha was part of a team plowing a field with twelve yoke of oxen the day Elijah found him. Elijah approached him and tossed his cloak over him, thereby informing him that he had been chosen to become the next prophet of Yahweh. Elijah began walking away, but Elisha followed him and said, “Let me kiss my father and mother good-by,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” Elijah’s response was, in essence, “whatever.” Elisha then quickly gave his goodbyes, took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them, then he took his plowing equipment and burned it, using the fire to cook the meat of the slaughtered oxen, which he distributed to the people around him. Then he followed Elijah and became his servant. (1 Kings 19:16-21)

Elisha, thus, gave up his livelihood, left his family, and took a low position with a poor man who was a prophet of Yahweh. He left one life for a new one.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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