Burning Bridges to the Past
1 Kings 19:21
“And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.”
One of the more difficult things people have to do is burning their bridges to the past. People love living in the past. We love the thoughts of how great the past used to be. We love the peace that our mind harbors about the past, and we love believing that the past is much better than today. However, you will never build bridges for the future if you never burn your bridges to the past.
One of the reasons God was able to use Elisha was because he burned his bridges to the past early in his life. Elijah didn’t constantly babysit and encourage him to move forward so the LORD could use him. It was Elisha’s choice to burn his bridges to the past. In the verse above, several bridges that must be burnt are represented if God is going to use you to build bridges for the future.
First, you must purposely decide to burn your bridges. Elisha said to Elijah in verse 20, “Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.” That kiss was the kiss of goodbye to the past. It was a purposeful choice to move forward. You will never be used of God as long as you hold onto the possibility of going back. When God calls, He expects you to move forward. Moving forward may be going back to where you came from, but it rarely does. This must be a personal choice you make if you want God to use you.
Second, Elisha burnt the bridges to his job. The verse above says that he sacrificed the oxen; this was his job. God won’t use you when you are not willing to leave the comforts of financial security to live a life of faith. A person called of God must look at their job and realize that they need to quit it and move forward to living the life of faith. Let’s face it; either God can provide our needs or He can’t. Too many people want to do everything at home because they have the financial security of their job. Until you burn the bridges to your job, you will limit God’s ability to work in your life.
Third, Elisha burnt the bridges to his past. When he gave the burnt oxen to the people from where he grew up, he was giving his farewell to his past friends and hometown. Most people have fond memories of where they grew up, but God’s will rarely involves going back home. You must be willing never to go back to your past friends and hometown if you want God to use you. You cannot build bridges for the future by running back over the bridge to the past.
Fourth, Elisha burnt the bridge to family. When he kissed his parent’s goodbye, he was burning the bridges to his family. I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy your family, but what I am saying is that you must be willing to leave family if you want God to use you. You are living in a fantasyland when you think you can live with family the rest of your life. My friend, everyone God has used has at one point kissed family goodbye so they could build bridges for the future. You can certainly stay in touch with them, but you cannot base God’s will on how close you will be to family.
You have a choice; you can keep walking back over the bridge to the past and do nothing, or you can burn it and start building bridges for the future. What are you going to do?