"So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, "Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?" So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen's equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and served him."
On December 21, 1620, the Mayflower dropped anchor in Plymouth Bay. It had been a grueling voyage across the Atlantic, taking the small ship 66 days to make the perilous crossing. There had been disease, anxiety and even childbirth among the 102 courageous passengers. Furthermore, they arrived on the bleak New England shore during a hard winter that ultimately claimed the lives of half their number. But when spring came and the captain of the Mayflower offered free passage to anyone desiring to return, not a single person accepted. These folks had made a commitment and they were not turning back. "No turning back, no turning back."
Elijah's call to Elisha brought the same response. As a farmer, Elisha had been plowing with 12 yoke of oxen. When Elijah threw his mantle on this hardworking plowboy, Elisha took the very means of his livelihood, a yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them to provide a farewell feast for his friends. In doing so, he cut the ties to his old life and demonstrated his commitment to the ministry ahead of him.
Chester Swayzee, a dear friend that is now with the Lord, shared with me pictures of some beautiful black draft horses he used on his farm in southern Indiana. He explained when the Lord called him into the ministry, that it was necessary to leave the farm behind for Bible College. He sold the land and property but the most difficult part of all that was the giving up of those beautiful horses he had learned to love so dearly. Rev. Swayzee's journey with Jesus led him to preach, pastor, and become a beloved District Superintendent. It began with the breaking of the ties, and a commitment to not turn back. "No turning back, no turning back."
The happiest people, the most blessed we know, are those who have committed to follow Jesus, with no reserve, no retreat, and no regret.
May the good Lord bless and keep you today, and never forget that you are loved!!!
Henry D. is from Southern Indiana and writes these wonderful daily devotionals to encourage those at the Dogwood Community Church located in Paoli, Indiana. Henry has graciously agreed to share these wonderful devotionals here at Without Excuse Ministries to encourage you our valued guest!