Let Me First Say Goodbye


God sends Elijah to anoint Elisha to come after him as God’s prophet. Elijah finds him and throws his cloak on him. There’s no record of words exchanged.

Elisha, at the time, was plowing the field behind some oxen. That’s what Saul was doing as well when he started on his kingly journey, when the Spirit of God rushes on him and sends him to battle.

We have very little record here of what happened, but Elisha seems to understand that he’s being called to go with Elijah. He asks to go say goodbye to his mother and father.

Elijah says, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” which I don’t understand, but maybe means go ahead back, but remember what I have called you to, with the whole cloak sharing thing.

Elisha goes back, holds a feast, and then, it seems, goes and catches up with Elijah.

I find this interesting because someone says to Jesus, let me first go say goodbye to my family and then I’ll follow you.

Jesus responds that anyone who puts his hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.

Jesus’ comments even mention ploughing. I find it interesting, and I asked the Lord, why was it okay for Elisha to turn back and say goodbye, but not for followers of Jesus.

There’s the answer. Elisha was following Elijah. He wasn’t following God or not following God.

When we evangelize, are we quick to want to get that hand raised or that nod of agreement, or do we let people know the cost, that this is a one-way street, that there’s no turning back?

Do we tell them to count the cost, that it will mean hardships, enduring, patience, walking contrary to the world, a giving up of the world and your life in it? Do we tell them not that Jesus is going to improve their lives but take possession of their lives?

It is infinitely worth the price. Life in Christ is worlds beyond an improved worldly life.

But people need to know, because if their expectation isn’t met and that hardship comes, then they might turn back and find themselves unfit for the kingdom.