Burning The Bulls

1 Kings 19:19-21 (NIV)

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. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”

21 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 servant.


God told Elijah that Elisha would succeed him as His prophet.  So Elijah went and found Elisha plowing his fields with 24 oxen.  Elisha was not driving all 12 pair of oxen.  Rather, out of the 12 yoke of oxen, Elisha was driving the 12th pair.  Elijah went up to Elisha and put his cloak on him as a sign of calling him to follow Elijah into service.  The cloak of the prophet was a symbol of his calling.  By placing his cloak on Elisha, Elijah was passing on the torch, if you will, of the prophetic call to Elisha.  Eilsha asked for time to go and say goodbye to his parents and Elijah acquiesced.  Then Elisha does something strange.  As a sign of his commitment to his calling, he has a barbecue.  He takes the oxen that were plowing his fields and kills them and cooks them and feeds them to the people of his community.

What has God called you to do?  What is keeping you from fulfilling the calling on your life?  If you are doing what God has called you to do, how committed to it are you?  Would you be willing to burn your “bulls?”  What is holding you back from serving God?  Is it your family?  Elisha kissed his parents goodbye to fulfill his calling.  Is it your job?  Elisha left the fields and burned his bulls.  Is it fear?  The task to follow Elijah and serve as God’s prophet at a time when no one feared the Lord was a monumental undertaking.  Elisha went anyway.  We can come up with a ton of excuses as to why we cannot serve the Lord Jesus.  He isn’t interested in our excuses.  He wants us to follow Him wholeheartedly and to give our lives to things that matter for eternity.  Jesus said in Luke 9:62 (NIV), “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  He was responding to someone who was making an excuse to Jesus’ call to follow Him.  If your heart isn’t in it and if you’re not completely committed, then you’ll be ineffective.  If you’re not willing to burn your bulls, then you’ll always hear the call of the fields.  Why settle for plowing fields when you can be following Jesus on the adventure of a lifetime?  Why settle for the company of bulls when you can enjoy deep fellowship with the Father in His service?  If God is calling you to serve Him, are you prepared to have a barbecue?  Don’t look back, but instead, start following Jesus today.

PRAYER: Lord, I know that You have a purpose for my life.  Help me to hear Your call over the things of this world.  I want to follow Jesus, but I am not always sure how to do it.  I want to serve You, but I don’t always have the commitment needed to do it.  Give me strength and resolve, courage and commitment to the call of Jesus.  In His name, amen.


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