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Continuing with Christ By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

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Continuing with Christ By Jennifer Benson Schuldt






Read: 1 Kings 19:19-21

Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:25

As a child, my favorite week of the summer was the one I spent at a Christian youth camp. At the end of the week, I’d sit elbow-to-elbow with friends in front of an enormous bonfire. There, we would share what we had learned about God and the Bible and sing. One song I still remember focused on deciding to follow Jesus. The chorus contained an important phrase: “no turning back.”

When Elisha decided to follow the prophet Elijah, Elisha did something incredible that made it difficult, impossible really, for him to return to his prior occupation of farming. After going home and having a farewell banquet, Elisha “took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them” (1 Kings 19:21). Leaving his way of life, he burned up his plowing equipment. He roasted the freshly butchered meat over the blaze and fed everyone present. Then “[Elisha] arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant” (v. 21).

Giving ourselves to God, who deserves our devotion, often comes with a price. At times, it means making difficult decisions about relationships, finances, and living arrangements. However, nothing compares with what we gain when we continue on with Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25).




Father, help me to see if there’s something You want me to leave behind to follow You completely.

Jesus is looking for fulltime followers.




Insight:

It is often difficult to understand the significance of some events in Scripture without a knowledge of the cultural context. Today’s story of Elijah and Elisha is an example of this. Two elements that carry significance are the placing of the cloak on Elisha (19:19 niv) and the slaughtering of the oxen to feed the people (v. 21). The placing of the cloak represented a significant calling. A person could not simply choose to be Elijah’s apprentice; that person was chosen and it was a great honor. The slaughtering of the oxen, the burning of the plowing equipment, and the feeding of the people signified a deliberate leaving of Elisha’s former life to follow Elijah. It was a public statement of Elisha’s new identity. J.R. Hudberg


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1 Kings 19:19-21 King James Version (KJV)

19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?

21 And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.


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