A Call to Ministry is a Big Deal
“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.” 1 Kings 19:19-21
Have you ever been to an ordination council? Have you observed the questions that season pastors and preachers asked the candidate for ordination in the “interrogation?” It is fascinating and I love being on the ordination councils for these men. It is a good challenge to read the doctrinal statements and attempt to encourage and add insight to the candidate that will help him in future ministry. What an honor it is to recognize the calling of God on a man for the ministry.
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah runs away to a cave from the hateful Queen Jezebel. After the Lord meets with Elijah, God encourages him that he is not alone that there are many others who are faithful to serve the Lord. God then gives Elijah an “assistant prophet” named Elisha.
Elisha comes from a wealthy family with many oxen. He is a hard worker, plowing in the family fields when Elijah meets him the first time. From there – Elisha follows and helps Elijah everywhere, “ministering” to him. I am thankful for the assistants the Lord has given me over the years. I need help in ministry!
When Elisha is called by God to assist Elijah, he asks if he could go home and explain it to his family. There are many men in ministry today whose families do not understand. “How could he leave the business world, his hometown, or the family farm?” are common questions. Elisha kisses his mother and father goodbye but then he throws a celebration.
Elisha takes 2 oxen, butchers them, then has a gigantic cookout. I love barbecuing on a grill or over an open flame! That is what he does. He cooks the beef and throws a celebration to mark the day he answered the call and entered into ministry.
Whenever a man enters ministry – it is a thing to be commended and celebrated. I hope that when ordination events are held at your church that you do everything possible to be there and to participate because it is a big deal.
- It is a big deal to God because a man has willingly answered the call to vocational ministry.
- It is a big deal to family because a son and a husband is entering into the ministry.
- It is a big deal for the church because they are ordaining and commissioning a man to the gospel ministry.
It is hard to imagine, but Elisha went on to do even greater things than Elijah. (2 Kings 2:9). It all began when a man answered a call to ministry. It was recognized by all around him and a feast to mark the special occasion was celebrated by all.
We may have cake and a chicken dinner today. Whatever is used to mark the occasion – know that it is an occasion worthy of respect, honor, and recognition.