Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 211

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Elisha continued...

We are not doing anyone any favors by twisting and distorting Scripture in the hopes that our pews and offering baskets will be fuller. The day will come and it is soon approaching when those to whom we have preached a counterfeit gospel and a counterfeit Christ will call us to task for not having prepared them spiritually, and for not having told them the truth while they still had time to draw closer and grow in God.

Elijah looks upon Elisha, and I can picture him shrugging his shoulders as he spoke to him. It wasn’t Elijah that called Elisha it was God who called him. Elijah was just the vessel by which Elisha was called, and having done his part, his answer is neither out of place or exceedingly unfeeling.

Is it man who has called you or is it God who has called you?

If it is God who has called you, why do you feel the need to explain your calling to men and get their approval?

1 Kings 19:21, “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.”

Most people I meet who want to be in ministry but have never been called to it, confide that they would do more for God if they could maintain their safety net. Essentially, they would be more willing to step out in faith if there was no faith required to do the work of God.

If you want to know how a man’s ministry will play out, look to see how it began. Elisha took his livelihood – having been a plowman who plowed with his oxen – slaughtered his livelihood, boiled the meat, and gave it to the people to eat.

There was no half measure to Elisha’s commitment. There was no notion of a safety net, or having something to come back to if serving Elijah didn’t pan out.

If God has called you then God will provide, supernaturally if need be. This is why it’s so important to know it is God who has called you. Some men get carried away because someone in the Sunday school class they taught told them they should have been a preacher, others look to the opulence to which some evangelists have become accustomed and pursue ministry for the selfsame reason, and others still see it as a safe career choice with a nice retirement from their chosen denomination.

Of all the reasons men enter ministry, it is only those whom God has called that stick to it during the hard times, and the trying times. The hirelings pack up and move on as soon the going gets tough, because they were never in ministry for the right reasons to begin with.

Elisha made a conscious decision to do away with every safety net, burn every bridge, and devote himself fully to his calling. There was no going back for Elisha, and knowing this, he focused all his effort on fulfilling his calling and being a vessel of honor in the hands of God.

Not surprisingly, Elisha performed more recorded miracles than anyone in the Bible other than Jesus.

The takeaway for us in having glimpsed Elisha’s calling, is that once we are called of God, and are certain we are called of God, we commit to the calling to which we have been called wholeheartedly, without reservation, and without delay.

Another aspect of Elisha’s calling we have a tendency to overlook is that he didn’t start out dividing the Jordan River, healing Naaman, or raising a woman’s son from the dead. He started out serving Elijah.

The first lesson all who are called of God must learn is to serve. No matter how great an anointing one might have, no matter how eloquent, mesmerizing, engaging or deep, if they have not learned to serve it will show in their character, and eventually adversely affect their ministry.

Elisha followed and served until God called him to greater things.

Some of us are called to serve for a year, some for ten, some for forty, but however long we are called to learn the lesson of serving, when we finally graduate, we will be called upon to continue serving others faithfully, humbly and selflessly.

We learn to lead by learning to follow, and we learn authority by learning to serve.

Although many would like nothing more than to bypass their season of serving and their season of following, it is something God has established so we might be ready, mature, balanced, and complete when He does call us to step out on our own.

Although opinions vary on how long Elisha followed and served Elijah, estimates range from six years, to ten years, to twelve years, and some even to twenty years. This was by no means a short term stint, it wasn’t something Elisha did over the summer, it was ongoing, protracted, and time consuming, yet Elisha continued to serve because it was what God called him to.

As obedient servants we perform the tasks and duties to which we have been called. No one said they would be glamorous, no one said they would garner us attention, fame and fortune, all we know is that God deemed them necessary, and appointed us to carry them out.

Knowing God needed it done and He chose you to do it ought to be enough, but for some it just isn’t. As pride continues to flare up at inappropriate times, men begin to think themselves underutilized in the plan of God, followed by a predisposition to drag their feet whenever called upon to labor, and capped off with the inevitable bitterness congruent with believing we deserve a higher profile task than has been assigned us.

What we so often fail to acknowledge is that it isn’t the size of the task God assigns us which determines our reward, but our obedience and faithfulness in carrying it out.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused on how were are supposed to be more like God and why Elisha cursed the kids who told him to basically die in 2 kings 2:23.

Barbara said...

I think the churches are full of fakes who try to stamp out the faith of believers before it even gets to sprout. Then people are so beaten down that they don't know what faith means. If you show real faith in a church, they will tear you to shreds.

The church wants you to have faith in them and their words and edicts. If you act like you can step out in faith on your own, that is a challenge to their authority. They have a form of godliness but no fruit.

They are like the pharisees that Jesus drove from his temple. He is going to do the same thing again and beat the wheat from the chaff. He is going to beat away the fakes and just keep his pure clean temple.

Faith seems like something you have to hide from the world lest they steal it from you. The kingdom of God is like a pearl of great price that a man buries in a field.

If you throw your pearls before swine, they will trample them into the dirt and then turn and tear you up as well.