There are some names in the Bible that just stand out – Abraham, Jacob, David, Peter, John (the Baptist). To be honest, Elisha was never one of them for me. But after reading a YouVersion Bible plan about him, I realised that he was one of those radical, straight-talking men of God who thought nothing of what people thought of him. His business was simply to do what God told him to do. For those of us who are less forward, we sometimes need some encouragement when we encounter the unexpected. For the ones who are more similar to Elisha, it’s easy to become so focused on what your goals are that you might neglect relationships, or forget about the bigger picture. But regardless of your personality type, you can apply these tips to your everyday lives.
SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY
(1 Kings 19: 14-21)
It seems like Elisha was just minding his business farming his land, when out of nowhere, Elijah appears and throws his mantle on him. Having a mantle thrown on you was a big deal. It automatically meant that Elisha was to be the next prophet to follow in Elijah’s footsteps. What’s more impressive than the fact that this huge title and responsibility was placed on Elisha, is the fact that Elisha was ready. He clearly was hungry for it, and made sure that he didn’t miss out on it, chasing down Elijah when he had already gone ahead and had told him to go back home.
It’s a reminder to make sure that opportunity finds us in two conditions: working and hungry. It doesn’t matter whether we are quietly working behind the scenes or putting in the groundwork for all to see. If we aren’t working, we have nothing that would have prepared us for whatever situation presents itself. If we are hungry, we will make sure that we don’t let the possibility of doing something unfamiliar pass us by, because that’s the chance to do something bigger and better than we’ve been doing before.
Remember that last part where Elijah told Elisha to go back? Yeahhh, brace yourself…it will seem as if the very thing that you want eludes you just when it seems within grasp. But that’s when commitment steps in and tells you that you’re in it for the long haul, that you’re serious about what you want, and that you are going to get it no matter what. Now this can be the tricky part for the introverted, particularly when that commitment requires you to connect with people you really don’t want to connect to! But persistence is key. It’s easy to feel drained after pursuing people, even moreso when you’re not getting any results, when you just want to do things on your own. I’ve found that mental preparation is priceless. Despite being hopeful for good results, you have to expect the negative ones too. Approaching people means expecting at least half of them not to be interested in what you have to say. That way, when you get the “no”s, you know you’re that much closer to the “yes”es and progress is being made. Of course, that’s still easier said than done. In which case you have to ingest Psalms 27: 1 and Philippians 4: 13 like vitamins. Disregarding fear as a limitation and knowing that God is there to help you with everything are two solid footholds to keep you dedicated to your goal.
The same is true for extroverts, too. Just because you get a buzz from being around people doesn’t mean that rejection doesn’t eventually take its toll. Furthermore, you may get bored or irritated more easily, making you feel like abandoning the task. But remember the bigger picture, the reason for starting in the first place. You know when something is meant for you; you can feel it in the uttermost parts of your gut when you have to get/do something. Stick with it!!
(2 Kings 6: 24 – 7: 20)
Some of the events that are recorded in the Bible are simply astounding. Joseph’s biography is my favourite, but this one still ranks high out of the lot of them. There were four men with leprosy, the dreaded disease of the time that affected one’s skin horribly, who were in an awful state – outcast and starving. They were at their lowest point for sure, because all of their options had death as the final outcome. Deciding to try one last thing to prolong their life for even a smidgen longer, they walked up to the camp of the Syrian Army, who had recently seiged their hometown, Samaria. The Syrians had the town on lockdown, causing a severe food shortage. Upon seeing the leprous men, they would either kill them at once or put them to work until they died. When they got there, strangely enough, the entire camp was empty. God had made the Syrians hear an army charging with horses and chariots, but it was just four men! They decided to tell their fellow countrymen in the city their amazing discovery, which confirmed the prophecy Elisha had given only the day before – that the people of Samaria were about to have so much food, it was going to be like the Old Testament version of black Friday. Well, he didn’t add that last part, but you get me.
I’ve heard people comment on how life can change in a moment, and that’s exactly what happened for these men and the people of Samaria. From the time they decided to do something different, and acted on that decision, they changed their future and that of the Samaritans. It’s what James was talking about in chapter 2 verse 14: What good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it?” It was the faith and actions of a few that moved people from paying 5 pieces of silver for bird dung to 1 piece for a truck load of actual food!
The lesson to be learned is not just that faith brings about supernatural results, but that without it, you can miss out on the good things in life. Consider the king’s personal attendant who didn’t believe what Elisha said, and died the very next day. It might be that you need faith to wait that God is going to do it his way, since your way is going to mess things up completely. It could be that you need faith to act, otherwise you’d be forever weighing pros and cons, and contemplating your next move. Whichever, nobody is fully equipped without faith in their arsenal.
“Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” ~ Dan Gable
These 3 tidbits are timely reminders for myself. Despite my initial resistance, I love teaching – the school environment, the children (most of the time, lol), the after-school activities, everything. But I still keep envisioning myself getting my entrepreneurial vibe on with my sheep (yes, sheep 🙂 more on that in the future…). I tried network marketing before, and for an introvert like me, it was just shy of disastrous. But I’ve learned some lessons and thankfully I still feel hungry. I’m still seeking out how to lay the foundation to make sure I’m ready for the opportunity I need. In fact, I think that the groundwork I’m doing now is going to create the opportunity. I just need to stay committed and faith-full and expect good things to happen. After all, this is the year of Jubilee. 🙂