The Pressure to Find Our Vocation

The vocational call upon Elisha’s life appears to be a dramatically undeniable invitation and assignment from God. How many of us wish that our own call would be so crystal clear? Or feel internal or external pressure to find our sense of meaning and purpose in our vocation?
What if we approached this text and our lives with a posture of compassion and trust that the essence of who we are supercedes what we do? Let us pause and consider our vocation as first a way of being in this world. How do we want to be? Where is God inviting us to be?

1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21 NLT

Then the LORD told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. 16 Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet.

19 So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. 20 Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!”

Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.”

21 So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.

For Prayer and Reflection:
What word or phrase shimmered as you listened to or read the text? Bring it into prayer with the Lord.

Reflect on your experience of being called into service. Is there something you want to talk over with God about it? Journal your conversation.

Rest in an consoling words or images which the Lord gave you.

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On Our Way...With Jesus Leading The Way

Jesus and his disciples are embarking on their last trip to Jerusalem. A conversation unfolds between them as they journey together.  It is a raw conversation, full of unedited honesty. The disciples must have felt quite loved and comfortable with Jesus to say out loud what they were thinking in their hearts. From a distance, it is easy to judge these disciples as self centered and absorbed and certainly we can see ourselves in them. Yet, Jesus meets each of them in their disconnect and models the wisdom of true servant leadership. He understands that radical honesty is where transformation can begin.

Jesus, our servant leader, journeys with us, tenderly takes us aside, reveals what is to happen (most often, as it is happening), invites us to ask for what we want and calls us together when we are offended by one another. Every action Jesus takes is serving our own transformation into his likeness and building his Kingdom here on earth. He invites us to serve alongside with him.

Listen in on the conversation...

Mark 10: 32-45 (NIV)
They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
As you listened to or read the text, was there a word, phrase or image which stayed with you?  Be still with them for a while. Ask Jesus about them. Is there more that Jesus says to you?

What do you want Jesus to do for you? What is underneath your desire? Jesus longs for you to know your own heart as well as his heart. How are they intertwined? Have a conversation with Jesus about it.

How have you experienced being served by Jesus? By others? How might Jesus be inviting you to serve with him in this season?

How is Jesus leading you today? How is he collectively leading those who you are with in Christian community together? What is your prayer as you seek to follow his lead?

Invited To Be In The Story

You are invited to step into this familiar story of Jesus' miraculous  feeding, so that you become part of the action. Come alive to the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of the event. What might the disciples be feeling before they got away? What did they think of the crowd who followed them? Sense the excitement of the families as they sit in circles on the grass wondering what is going to happen. Watch Jesus as he prays to the Father, breaks the loaves, and gives the bread and the fish to each of the disciples. Notice the amazement of the disciples as they distribute what they have. Sit in one of the circles, taste the bread and the fish, enter into the astonishment of the people as they talk about the miracle. See the compassion Jesus has for the people. Let him look into your eyes as though you were there on that day. Feel the love he has for you now.

Alex Aronis in his book, Developing Intimacy with Christ, suggests that you ask yourself these questions, "What in the text moves me to want to attach myself to Christ? What causes me to appreciate or love Christ more?" Try to understand why he takes the action and says the words that he does. Seek intimate knowledge of Christ.

Mark 6:30-44 NIV
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[a]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What was it like for you to step into the story with Jesus? to be a part of the miracle?

Was there something in the text which moved you to want to attach yourself to Christ?

What caused you to appreciate or love Christ more?

Have a conversation with Jesus about these things.