So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.
I Kings 19:19-21 NKJ
Love requires commitment, and commitment requires abandoning our exit strategies.
One of my favorite examples of removing any exit strategy comes from the prophet Elisha. The Old Testament book of 1 Kings chronicles Elisha’s extraordinary story. God called Elisha into a life of ministry, but Elisha wisely understood that embracing his calling would mean letting go of his current career. He had to make a choice between his love for God and his need for the familiarity and financial security of his home.
Elisha was a farmer from a family of farmers. His cattle and his farming equipment represented his family trade, his heritage, and his income. Elisha didn’t want the temptation of a comfortable exit strategy in his mind on the days when his new life in ministry might get uncomfortable. Elisha wanted to go all in with God.
To simultaneously celebrate his new calling and publicly display his commitment to God, Elisha threw himself a very unique going-away party. He slaughtered all his cattle and cooked their meat by burning all his farm equipment. He was symbolically and literally lighting fire to his exit strategy.
As he celebrated his new adventure with friends and family that night, they all knew he wouldn’t be coming home, because he’d made sure he’d have nothing to come home to. He had removed the temptation. He had eliminated the exit strategy. His love for God moved him to make a dramatic commitment.
God honored Elisha’s commitment. Elisha went on to become one of the most significant spiritual leaders in Israel’s history. His love, faith, and commitment to God continue to inspire people around the globe.
Love thrives where love is rooted in commitment. Make sure your loved ones know your love isn’t just a fickle feeling; it’s a promise for your shared future. Embrace a deeper sense of responsibility for and accountability to your loved ones, and you’ll be cultivating fertile soil where lasting love can take root.
From: 7 Laws of Love (Ptr Dave Willis and Thomas Nelson)