In 1519, Hernando Cortez convinced 500 soldiers and 100 sailers to go fight for the largest treasure in the world. This treasure had been fought over for 600 years and no one was able to overcome the natives. Hernando talked to the men about their lives after they would have the treasure, but he knew that would not be enough. The natives were great fighters fighting for their homes and lifestyles and his men were fighting for money. He knew he needed to motivate his men. So when they arrive on the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula, he says something crazy… “Burn the boats.” They arrived on 11 boats that were not burning off the shore. “If we go home, it will be on their boats.” Talk about a new motivation for success.
That is what in must have felt for Elisha when Elijah the famous outlawed prophet show up to Elisha’s every day scene of oxen butts. He was a farmer plowing a yoke of oxen and he was 12th in line. Dust, dung and oxen buts was a daily scene. However it is safe and predictable. One day he might work his way up to the lead plower. Elijah shows up and throws his mantle on Elisha’s shoulders and just walks away. This is Elisha’s invitation to something more than oxen butts and into the adventure he was made for. Elisha has an option safe, comfortable, predictable oxen butts or join the outlaw prophet. That is where the story gets crazy…
1 Kings 19:21 So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.
Elisha killed the tools of his old life so there was nothing to come home to. The finality of this statement is why we know his name today. I believe many of us are stuck in the mundane of everyday life and God gives us an opportunity we get that same choice… safe, comfortable, and predictable or take the risk and believe God at His word. I think it is easy to find our lives living in regret of what could have been. I never hear people regret trusting God and living by faith, I often meet people who look back and knew there was something more.
What about you? What plow do you need to burn? What is that step of faith do you need to take? Where are you playing it safe? What if today is your moment? What if you give until it hurts? What if you start the business? What if you kill the back up plan? What if God showed up in your obedience? Burn the ships, burn the boat, and don’t go back.
Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus