Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
These days everything in life seems to come with conditions. People often ask their leaders to make a decision – something cut-and-dried, black-or-white – when what they really want is some shade of gray. We want the wiggle-room of indecisiveness. We like changing our mind when the circumstances change. In today’s passages, we learn that God does not give us the option: our response must be yes or no.
After Elijah fled to the desert to escape Jezebel’s threat, the Lord revealed his replacement prophet – Elisha. He found Elisha busy in the work of the fields, passed by and put his mantle over him. Elisha requested that he kiss his parents goodbye (translated: finish the work before him) and then he would follow. Elijah made it clear that was not what God wanted, so Elisha instead killed his oxen and cooked them using the wood of his plow to irrevocably cut his ties to his past.
In the same way, Jesus gives cryptic answers, yet ones that called for immediate action in direction to his followers. A response cutting someone off from burying his/her parent or saying goodbye to family seems harsh on the surface, but in reality, the response was, “I will follow you when it is convenient,” and Jesus was not asking them to follow him, “maybe.”
Elisha and Jesus’s followers were all in the middle of living their day-to-day lives when they received the Lord’s call. We are all in the middle of living our day-to-day lives. I have commitments booked months in advance on my calendar: “Oh just let me finish _________.” will always be a line I could use. Life will always be an obstacle in doing that which God calls us to do, so he does not allow us a “maybe” or “later” response. The only answers he takes are “yes” or “no.”
Fortunately for us, when God calls us, he only has good things in store for us. While we may have to give up a certain good thing (our present circumstance) on faith for a better good thing (found in God’s call), we do know that it will be good. Our first task, though, is to say, “yes!”
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org