In 1 Kings 19:19-21 we read the remarkable story of Elisha’s call to the prophetic ministry in Israel. The great man of God, Elijah, now aged and near to his departure from this earthly life, had been instructed by the Lord to anoint Elisha in his place. He obeyed, and in a very simple yet symbolic gesture, cast his mantle over the shoulders of the younger man. Elisha immediately knew the source of the call, and more importantly, knew the cost of obedience to the calling. Elisha asked if he could go back to his parents’ house and bid them goodbye, to which Elijah replied in a seemingly brusque manner, “Go back again: for what have I done unto thee?” Some translators have put it as a harsh reply, others interpret it as a simple, “You choose.” The French Louis Segond translation conveys it very neatly, “Go, and then come back; think about what I have done to you.” Or, in other words, this is your decision, and only yours to make. Elijah could not choose for him; this was Elisha’s day of destined choice.
Elijah needed not to worry, though. Elisha’s response was clear enough when he took a pair of the oxen that he had been plowing with, killed them, and roasted their flesh using the wood of the yoke for firewood. Could there be more symbolism than that? Elisha was making it abundantly clear to everyone, including himself, that once he started down this road with Elijah, there would be no returning to the old way of doing things. His position had changed. His perspective had changed. And now his priorities were starting to change too.
Certainly there are many “realities” concerning the Church, but these five stand out in relation to the Church’s place in the end-time harvest and revival to which we are engaged. It is much too easy to get side tracked with programs and religious traditions and forget the priorities that are always before us, beckoning us forward to more and more consecration.
1. The Church is instrumental in God’s plan for revival/harvest.
2. The Church, however, consists of people; and often people fail.
3. The Church must not take for granted its position in Christ.
4. The Church can and must see with God’s help what others have chosen to ignore.
5. The Church must choose to be part of the revival that God has ordained and never compromise.
Nothing can change these realities. Our response to these is key in predicting our success as the Church, whether on a local, regional, national, or international level. We must choose to be part and allow nothing to lure us away from the greatest task of all.
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