So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother good-by,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”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 attendant.
I Kings 19.19-21
Abrupt, unsuspecting, in the middle of things. Sometimes God calls that way.
Others times He slowly works on hearts. My testimony. He may have been working on Elisha for a long time. Plowing the fields, like mowing grass, gives you time to think, time alone. I am sure Elisha was doing thinking, lamenting and praying.
God's call of Elisha came and Elisha's response is wonderful.
Much is wrapped up in this call of God. It is a mystical thing. Thank God we believe in pastors being called by the LORD.
1. God calls people to special service but everyone is called to be a servant.
He choses them.
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you.
He anoints them.
1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in Him.
The LORD calls them to a close relationship with His family.
Genesis 12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you." The beginning of Israel.
Luke 11:27-28 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.”
Matthew 12:48-50 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Followers of Jesus
Mark 10:28-30 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
We have a different relationship with believers.
To live above with saints we love, O that will be glory.
To live below with saints we know, well that's another story!
Getting used to the family I'll spend eternity with.
So God calls people to salvation and to service and special relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ. He works through our gatherings, through our caring for one another. We pray for one another. We help each other. We really do need each other.
In this call of God there is...
2. The Cost In Following Jesus
Luke 9:57-62 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.”But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Elisha's desire to bid his family farewell was not the same as this man who wanted to bury his father. In fact it was quite opposite. The man Jesus spoke to wanted to wait around for his father to die, inherit some money then come after Jesus. It was a delay and desire to get his inheritance.
Be careful if you are waiting for all your eggs to be in a row so you can serve the LORD. Do it now! If you wait you will never get to it. This man wanted financial security. Be careful of waiting until you can afford to give!
The people in Bible College who said they wanted to pay off their debts before going into the ministry are still out in Colorado Springs 35 years later.
Elisha was not looking for any of that. He burned his equipment. Like Jesus' disciples left their nets so Elisha killed the oxen and had a farewell feast.
Elisha wasn't going back to put his hand to the plow. He was going back to burn it.
It was a brave thing.
It was an appropriate thing.
It was a bold thing.
It was a statement of his faith and complete surrender to the call of God.
There is no turning back from following Jesus.
3. The call of God is irrevocable.
Romans 11:29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.
His gifts- once given are not taken back.
Romans 11:29 God’s gifts and calling can’t be taken back.
Romans 11:28 For once they are made, God does not withdraw his gifts of his calling.
His spiritual gifts can still operate and do in those who are not walking with him. Very scary.
His calling is for a lifetime. If He has called you to something or some place, you will never will be satisfied unless you are doing it.
What is God calling you to do? He has been calling me to speak to people about Him. He has been stirring my heart and letting it break over children in our community.
Passing the mantle/ receiving the mantle. The general superintendent who ordained me is in heaven, as are my first two District Superintendents and a number of pastors I knew and looked up to. They are gone. I am here to continue.
All my pastors are either in heaven or are retired. The men who were there in my formative years have passed the mantle onto me.
We hand off mantles.
We receive them.
God is calling people today. Primarily the youth but not exclusively. Dr. McCoy
Where is your heart today? Where is the tug? What stirs you? When the time comes who will you pass the mantle onto?