Time Traveling in Our Custom-Built Time Machines
By Ed Delph
September 17, 2018
There’s a story in the Bible that can help those wanting to be free of something holding them back. Let me give you some background. Elisha was a farmer’s farmer. However, something happened to him that would change his life. He knew the ‘next’ in his life was to serve a prophet by the name of Elijah.
Farming was going to be nothing compared to serving a salty old prophet like Elijah. His resume read like the ‘Who’s Who’ of prophets. He made a firm and final decision. He was going to serve Elijah. What did he do to make sure he would ‘never’ go back to farming again? Now the rest of the story.
The following paragraphs are from Word for Today in the May-July 2018 issue. The author of this short writing could not have given us better advice on living a quality life. Read on.
“Elisha's ministry begins with this Scripture: 'He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people…then he set out to follow Elijah.' (1 Kings 19:21). He couldn't go back to his old way of life now because he had destroyed the time machine that would take him back. It was the end of Elisha the farmer, and the beginning of Elisha the prophet.
It doesn't matter whether you're trying to lose weight, get into university, write a book, start a business or a ministry, or get out of debt. The first step is always the longest step and the hardest. You can't just take a step forward into the future; you also need to eliminate the possibility of moving backward into the past. That's how you go after goals. That's how you break addictions. That's how you reconcile relationships.
To begin a new chapter, you must end an old chapter. Elisha didn't need to burn his plowing equipment to follow Elijah, but it made a statement. It was a statement of faith and conviction. There was no turning back.
Nine times out of ten, failure is resorting to Plan B when Plan A gets too risky, too costly, or too difficult. That's why most people are living their Plan B. They haven't burned their bridges to the past. Plan A people don't have a Plan B. It's Plan A or bust. They would rather crash and burn while going after their God-ordained dreams than succeed at something else. Great advice, huh?
Did you notice four very important words in the story of Elisha in the first chapter of this article? Elisha ‘burned the plowing equipment.' He decided he was going to follow Elijah. No more debate. No more hemming and hawing. No polls taken. Decision made. There was no more bait to attract him to take ‘de-bate.’ He said farewell to the welfare of the option of time traveling if things got tough.
I like the concept of the time machines we prepare, ready to transport us to the past any time something isn’t easy. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes there are seasons where we will do something for a while and then go back to what we were doing originally. I’m talking about strategic life issues we are called to do, transitions we need to make, forgiveness we need to extend, recent wrongs needing correction that are just as wrong as the first wrong committed in the past.
Here’s wisdom to consider on past hurts in our lives that impede a better future. “If you never heal from what hurt you, you will bleed on people who didn’t cut you.” Maybe it’s time to start cleaning our blood off others we have bled on. Our issues, like an unchecked virus, have contaminated others, others that didn’t cut us. Do the right thing. Cancel their subscription to your issues or they will most likely cancel their subscription to your issues.
Moving from your ‘never’ to your ‘next’… ‘now’ requires removing the time machines we use to travel in. For a better future, today do what Elisha did, burn the plowing equipment. After all, God is the Great I Am, not the Great I Was. The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post.
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com