First Reading:  1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21


The Call of Elisha


16b God said to Elijah, “You shall anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah to be prophet in your place.”


19 So he departed there, 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 over to him, and cast his mantle on him.20 He left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me please kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.”


He said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?”


21 He returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, and killed them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave to the people, and they ate. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and served him.


World English Bible


Immediately after Elijah realized the presence of God in the faintest whisper of wind, he received a mission: anoint two kings and a prophet. The prophet would become an apprentice. But eventually, the apprentice would replace Elijah. This apprentice was Elisha, a farmer of some means (the number of oxen and the plough indicated Elisha had some success in his livelihood).


With the call, Elisha took his leave from his extended family and his livelihood. With the sacrifice of the oxen and the destruction of his plough, Elisha cut all ties. He was now free to follow God’s call as a prophet and live as a nomadic preacher.


God calls everyone to a mission. Trust in him and his divine providence. Encourage others to do the same. We might not all be called like Elisha to become prophets on the road. But God does expect us to have faith and not be too concerned about our own self interests.


Has God’s call ever tested you to give up some personal activity? What happened?