1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21

Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.

So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?” He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Called to be “All In”

I find today’s Gospel very challenging. When God calls me, I sometimes give a “reluctant yes.”

Or I’ll say “yes” but reserve the right to change my mind if things don’t seem to be working out. Jesus says, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” Jesus is talking about me!

Elisha had no such hesitation. When Elijah tapped him, Elisha slaughtered his oxen, used his plowing equipment as fuel, and fed his people one great last feast in his presence. He left himself nothing to return to; he was “all in.”

I often have been “all in” during my many years of Jesuit life. How is God calling you today to be “all in”? To let God use you in his service in a way you can only begin to imagine? What do you need to let go of to respond “wholeheartedly” to God’s call?

—Fr. Jim Goeke, SJ, serves at Regis Jesuit High School in Denver as a math teacher and superior of the Jesuit Community.

 

Prayer

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known?
Will you let my life be grown in you, and you in me?

—Lyrics to “The Summons” by John Bell, ©1987