Joshua and the israelites



BY: Fr. Karabari Paul



“No one Who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

At some point in our lives, we have probably all come up with reasons why we shouldn’t have to do the thing we have been asked to do. And sometimes that can be something God has asked us to do. When He calls us to do something for Him, things like fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and not feeling good enough can all stop us from taking that step out of our comfort zones and following His will. When God speaks to us, and tells us what He would love us to do, we have a choice to make. We either make a commitment or make an excuse.

The readings today (1 Kings 19:16b.19-21, Galatians 5:1, 13-18, Luke 9:51-62) talk about God calling individuals and their responses shown either in acceptance or rejection. For those who have accepted to follow God, a total commitment is required. At first, some Samaritan villagers resisted Jesus who was only making entry to Jerusalem. Jesus could see them as mere distractions and not a necessary group of enemies to be consumed by fire. Sometimes, we do not realise that it is a complete waste of energies to focus on some perceived enemies. They could just be distractions.

A man walked up to Jesus and indicated interest in being a disciple but Jesus never accepted. However, He invited others who came up with various excuses. Often, what comes may not be what you need, and what you need may not be available exactly when you need it. Commonly, we only have a few people in our inner circle. These are the people that we are close to, we trust, and we can confide in. We need to be wise when it comes to who we allow into that circle. It really hurts when we discover that not everyone has our best interests at heart. So we must learn to be discerning, and know on what level to interact with people.

Does it not shock you that someone wanted to follow Jesus but He refused? Not everyone can be your friend. It has nothing to do with hate. Do not hate anyone. Love everyone as much as you can. The Bible warns us: ‘One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother’ (Proverbs 18:24).

God told Elijah that Elisha would eventually take his place as prophet. And Elisha’s ministry started like this: ‘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.’ It sounds pretty drastic. Destroying his old way of life meant he could never go back to it. But it was actually quite symbolic.
It was the end of Elisha the farmer, and the beginning of Elisha the prophet.

When we try and change something about ourselves, or start something new, we can find it hard to take that first step. We come up with excuses as to why we can’t do it. Maybe we are comfortable as we are, we don’t want the risk of change or it’s not the right time. The thing is, we can’t just take a step forward into the future; we also have to remove the things that could lead us backwards into the past. To begin a new chapter, we 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. There was no turning back. Whether it is in our relationships, lifestyles or something else, we need to end a chapter before we can fully move into the new one. When God told Lot and his family to leave Sodom, the angels warned them not to look back: ‘Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!’ (Genesis 19:17). They needed to keep their eyes on what was ahead, not their old life. And we need to do the same.

If God’s telling us to do something, we need to take His hand and move forward in faith. We don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to play our part in God’s kingdom. So let us stop making excuses and trust Him to help us to do whatever He is asking of us. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God bless you and your household always through Christ Our Lord Amen. Happy Sunday.

Fr. Karabari Paul

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