Twice in my life, God has used the story of Elisha to show me a particular way to live.
The first time, He used the story of when Elijah, his predecessor, was taken up in the clouds to be with the Lord (rather than simply dying). After Elijah was carried away, Elisha took off his cloak, ripped it to shreds, and retrieved Elijah's cloak. This was, in essence, the equivalent of taking someone's nameplate off their office door and putting yours up. The story is found in
2 Kings 2:12 (NIV): “Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.”
Back in 2013, Gary and I were told to move to Nashville. During that time, we wrestled with lots of decisions, one being whether to sell our house in Missouri or just rent it out. Then Pastor Matt Harris of Eagle Creek Church in Lee's Summit, MO preached on the above story. He said sometimes when God instructs us to do something, we have to be like Elisha and rip up the old - so we can't use it anymore - so we become fully committed to the new.
So we decided to sell the house. No safety net in case things didn't work out in Nashvillle; we had to be fully committed to Him.
Then another story of Elisha - when he first was selected by God to succeed Elijah - impacted a friend of ours.
“So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.” 1 Kings 19:21 NIV http://bible.com/111/1ki.19.21.niv
Pastor Josh Hawk of the Move Church in Nashville, TN preached on the above story recently. Elisha, when he decided to follow God, destroyed the tools and animals he used to make a living. He did this to get rid of his safety net.
This impacted our friend Eric, a guy who attends our church and is currently homeless. He said to us, after hearing that sermon, that it is about time to get rid of his past life and walked into his new one. He "destroyed" his past by asking us for help last week in getting his birth certificate and social security card so he could get a job! It takes great courage for people who have lived on the streets to ask for help, and just by asking, the ball is rolling and agencies are involved to provide him resources. There is no going back for him. He is fully committed to walking into his new life.
So is there something God has told you to do, yet you're still holding on to your safety net? You can fully trust Him. It's okay to let go. Rip it up. Destroy it. Step into your new life.
And pray for Eric - that his fears and doubts will not affect his resolve. It will take time and patience to build a new life, and he will do it!