Then the Lord said to (Elijah), “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel, and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.
So he set out from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Then Elijah said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah and became his servant. ~ I Kings 19:15-16, 19-21
The theme with the readings this week has to do with what it means to follow Jesus: that there is no turning back.
For Elisha here, that's literally true. When Elijah tells him to follow, the young man's first (understandable) instinct is to run back to say goodbye to his parents.
But Elijah is having none of that. He's been called. There's no other response that's acceptable to the prophet than dropping everything and following the call.
And so Elisha makes does something that guarantees he will follow. He does something that is irrevocable. Something that will mean his parents won't want him to stay.
He killed all his parents' oxen.
Now, I'd say that seems a little extreme doesn't it? Talk about burning bridges...
But have you ever wanted to do something so extreme to keep yourself on the right path? Or wanted to? I mean, maybe not by ruining your parents' economic prospects, but something that would be mean no turning back?
Have you reached a point in your life of faith where there is no turning back?
Here's the thing though...maybe you have and maybe you haven't. Maybe you aren't sure you could do something so extreme to prove your faith.
And if so, that's OK. Because God has already gone to extreme lengths to show that there is no turning back from God's love for us.
Dear God, help me to keep my face always toward you. Amen