Summary: What is holding your back from fulfilling your destiny in Christ? It is time to leave everything behind! This challenge to turn your back on every distraction will cause you to kiss your ox goodbye!
“Kiss Your Ox Goodbye”
Text: I Kings 19:19-21
Elijah has been whining to God. He has claimed to be the only true prophet left. But God responds by telling Elijah that not only is he not the only one left there are 7000 men who have not bowed their knee to Baal. Then God instructs Elijah to go back the way he had come and to find a young man by the name of Elisha and anoint him as his successor (youth pastors how many of us pass young people who God has called us to call without noticing them?). That is where we pick up the story. Elijah is walking by a farm when he sees Elisha and quietly walks by the young man and slaps him with his mantle. Elisha immediately stops what he is doing and runs to Elijah and tells him he will follow him after he tells his parents goodbye. Elijah almost seems to rebuke Elisha. He seems to resists him. So, Elisha quickly runs home and kills two of his oxen and destroys the plowing equipment to build a fire. He tells his family goodbye and follows Elijah for the next 7 or 8 years as his servant. From this story, I would like to tell you it is time to “Kiss Your Ox Goodbye!”
III. Quick Observations
a. Aren’t you glad he wasn’t plowing with a donkey?
b. Elisha must have been somewhat well off because he was using 12 yoke of oxen. He must have had a good bit of land. Notice there was no argument over the slaying of 2 of the ox.
IV. Application for Us
Most of us can relate to Elisha. We are minding our own business, locked in surviving from one day to the next. We are simply fulfilling our own plans, agendas, and dreams. We are simply plowing from one day to the next, get up, go to school, go to practice, go to work, do homework, go to sleep, and then start all over. Then out of nowhere at a retreat, a service, a camp, or an encounter with a person we suddenly receive a call from God to follow Him and to give our life to Him. And like Elisha most of us run after that call. But where the similarities end is that most of us will only follow to the end of our field and then we turn around and go home. We are willing to follow to the edge of our comfort zone, but when it comes time to kill our ox and leave behind our loves, our lives, and our livelihood we balk. When we experience any resistance or discomfort we give up or quit. We don’t seem to realize that resistance is part of answering the call. For if a seed doesn’t fall into the ground and die it can not bear fruit.
Elisha went all the way. He had an encounter with God and made a decisive decision to kill everything that would hold him back. He left his wealth. His job. His inheritance. His family. His dreams. His plans. He left no doubt that he would follow all the way. He killed the animals and destroyed the tools that had been used to obtain his income. He left no room for return. He didn’t approach this walk with Elijah as a trial run. I will keep my farming equipment and ox just in case this doesn’t work out. I will keep something to fall back on in case this isn’t what I thought it was going to be.
Most of us experience a move of God and we are moved by our emotions to walk to the front with everyone else. We make a verbal commitment to follow at all cost. We promise to obey and to sacrifice. But the truth is that most of us only stick to this until we return home. When we get home instead of killing our ox we just go back to plowing. Instead of ridding ourselves of the habit, the relationship, the desire we return home with good intentions only to feed our ox rather than kill it.
There are numerous examples of people in the Bible who kissed their ox goodbye. Moses chose to go to the wilderness rather than to remain in the palace. It would have been more comfortable to stay in the plush confines of the palace field, but he left it behind when the call came. David received a call to become a king. He could have ignored it and remained a simple shepard but instead he chose a life of running and dodging a mad king. Jesus could have stayed in heaven and refused to come to earth and suffer and die, but he killed his ox. Most of us believe that we can leave services like this and follow these examples. But the truth is that most of us are more like Demas. In fact, the story of Demas is the perfect picture of this generation.