1 Kings 19
For those of you who may not be fans of poker, there frequently comes a point when a player will go "all in." That means that he will bet everything he has left because he believes he has the best hand at the table. Everything is on the line. If he has the best hand, he may be in a position to win the whole game. But if he doesn’t have the best hand, he could lose everything.
When I began reading this chapter, I initially thought I would focus on the exchange between God and Elijah on Mount Horeb. That’s one of my favorite stories about God in the Bible—how He was not in the earthquake, the wind, or the fire, but in the quiet voice. However, since that’s such a well-known story, I decided to pick out something to focus on that is, perhaps, a little more obscure.
Elisha—the newly-appointed prophet in Israel—decided to go all in. The end of chapter 19 records that Elijah came to Elisha and "passed the mantle," so to speak. Elisha knew immediately the significance of that action, and he asked for a little bit of time to say goodbye to his family. Elijah agreed, "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." (vs 21)
Before Elijah came to see him, Elisha was a wealthy farmer. In fact, when Elijah met up with him, Elisha was plowing his own fields with twelve yoke of oxen. Yet, when he realized the calling God had in mind, he didn’t waste any time. He butchered all his oxen in order to throw a big BBQ party for his friends, and he cooked it up over a bonfire of his plowing equipment.
Talk about going all in! Elisha recognized God’s voice in the call to something new, and he didn’t hesitate to fully put away his past in order to pursue his new future. He didn’t complain or drag his feet. Nor did he hold his farming business "in reserve," just in case this new thing with God didn’t work out so well. No. He went "all in."
God also wants us to go all in. Oh, it’s true that He can and will use us—even if we are only partially committed. However, when we are fully committed to Him, He can do things beyond our wildest imaginations. It takes a lot of courage to trust ourselves so totally to God (even though He has given us plenty of evidence that He is fully trustworthy) because, most of the time, our need for control is so great. But if you are willing to go all in—as Elisha did—you will find yourself at the beginning of one of the wildest adventures you’ve ever had.
As Christian comedian Mark Lowry once said, "If I could sum up the Christian life in one word, it would be this: the Christian life is interesting. You want a boring life? Don’t come to Christ!" Next time you have the opportunity, why don’t you go "all in" with God and see what happens? Your life will never be the same again!