Take It or Leave It

1 Kings 19:21 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.”

The calling of Elisha is a fascinating account of a consecrated life. Elijah comes and puts his mantle over his shoulders to signify God’s choice. Elisha asked to say goodbye, but how he went about it reveals his full and total submission.

He goes back to say goodbye; he destroys the implements by which he earned a living, thereby sealing off the path of return.

Jesus tells us:

Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Most know that anything done halfheartedly will never achieve what a fully committed effort will accomplish. God wants the same commitment from us. Allowing a way back to our old life and friends is like a security blanket in case this thing with God doesn’t work out. 

One might say, “I am just keeping my options open.”

Being committed to our choices isn’t something we practice much in our daily life. Oh, we’re committed to the things we desire, but the things of God – not so much. 

Why is that?

We want to know it’s safe. We want an assurance that it will work out to our benefit. We want to control the situation and circumstances so that there is little pain or sacrifice involved. We fear the unknown.

But, with God, faith bridges the gap. 

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ

God desires to work in and through us to show Himself true to us and those around us.

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

I often wonder what God’s church could do if every one of her members sold out. Each has gifts and talents to supply the body with all it needs to function fully. 

Yet, churches struggle today because one or more of its members are MIA. Others think it someone else’s responsibility. God’s plan for every church is complete both in its men, method, and management.

He has called your pastor a leader to lead and guide with the vision God gives to bring that local church body to its full potential. 

There are individual connections and camaraderie with those whose commitment and willingness to sacrifice are equal. You find it among soldiers in battle. All are committed to fighting, willing to die for their country and cause.

They operate as one under high and right authority. It feels like a well-oiled machine. 

Today, we have a different philosophy. 

Take it or leave it.

More often than not, if we are not fully committed, we will leave it. When the going gets rough, trials press us out of measure, or we suffer for our choices; we tend to back off from our original dedication questioning whether or not it was real or if we meant it. 

Elisha left no room to return to that type of thinking. He did not want to think that there was a way out if he began questioning God’s call on his life. I have heard this truth and adopted it as a principle in my life.

“Do not undo in doubt what you decided in faith.”

We will often gather evidence to support our beliefs. Whether it is for the dedication of my life to Christ or all the reasons I shouldn’t, I must decide. To remain in indecision is still having made a choice.

Joshua challenged the Israelite people, “Choose you this day.” 

We should challenge ourselves with the same statement. From the moment you wake up till the time you pillow your head, you will have made hundreds, if not thousands of choices.

Each of those choices is based on our level of commitment to the task at hand. Jesus tells us:

Luke 9:23-25 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?”

The cross we face may be substantial. It may have pain and suffering attached to it. It may be that we may need to lay down our life for another. Whatever it is that we may face, trusting God will use it for His glory should be enough to suffice. 

Finally, Paul admonished the church at Corinth with these words.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Having an eternal mindset will keep us focused on what is needed short-term and long-term. 

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is the beginning and the end. What we start with Him, should end with our last breath in service to our King. That is a decision made by us every day of our life here on this earth.

Choose rightly!

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