So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. – 1 Kings 19:19
Scripture reading: 1 Kings 19:1-21; Luke 9:57-62
In retrospect, when Elijah saw Elisha plowing with a yoke of oxen, he cast his cloak upon him. Elisha knew the symbolism of receiving Elijah’s cloak. He realized that Elijah was picking him as his successor. But more than that, Elisha realized that the cloak wasn’t being presented to him just by Elijah but by the Lord.
That’s why Elisha did not offer any excuses. He did not say, “I will follow you after we get the plowing finished.” Or, “I will follow you when the harvest is in.” Instead, verse 20 describes how Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. When he caught up to Elijah he had only one request. He said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.”
By that request, Elisha was not evading the call to serve like those described by Jesus in Luke 9. Rather, Elisha was fulfilling the teaching Jesus would later give to His disciples when He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Elisha’s life of commitment reveals the truth that Jesus would later speak, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
What an example Elisha set! No matter what calling or vocation you have, use your time, energy and talents to serve the Lord. For His glory and the building up of His kingdom!
Suggestions for prayer
Thank the Lord that He calls each one of us to be a fellow worker with Him and gives all of us a place of service within His kingdom, as every Christian is vital to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-26).
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Ted Gray has served as pastor of First United Reformed Church in Oak Lawn, Illinois for the last 15 years.