1 Kings 19:16,19-21
The Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go, you are to anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.’
Leaving there, Elijah came on Elisha son of Shaphat as he was ploughing behind twelve yoke of oxen, he himself being with the twelfth. Elijah passed near to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. ‘Let me kiss my father and mother, then I will follow you’ he said. Elijah answered, ‘Go, go back; for have I done anything to you?’ Elisha turned away, took the pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He used the plough for cooking the oxen, then gave to his men, who ate. He then rose, and followed Elijah and became his servant.
When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself. If you go snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces, you had better watch or you will destroy the whole community.
Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions. If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you.
As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely took the road for Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem. Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?’ But he turned and rebuked them, and they went off to another village.
As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me’, replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’ But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.’
Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say goodbye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’
No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God
Regret can be quite a debilitating emotion. Most people suffer from bouts of regret from time to time. Whether feeling like some decision or action could have been taken differently, which would have made a change to a particular situation. Or whether things could have been handled differently or said more gently. These ‘what-if’ scenarios play over and over in our minds… potentially to the point that it questions our sense of purpose, ability or sincerity. As a result, we can become paralyzed in these thoughts and actions.
Yet, regret can also give us a great opportunity for self-reflection and improvement. We just need to realize that when we’re looking back, we are considering the past with all the added benefits of experiences of the present. So, rather than beating ourselves up today for something we might have done yesterday, we should use these experiences to figure out what we can do better at tomorrow.
God wants us to live a life without regret, shame and guilt. That is why He gave us the Bible that contains His life restoring Word. That is why He promised us eternal salvation. That is why He sent his one and only son Jesus to die for our sins. As Paul (who wouldn’t have been able to do Christ’s works if he remained paralyzed by guilt for his prior persecution of the early Christians) writes – “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” (Phil 3:13-15)
(Today’s Oxygen by Steven Su)
Prayer – Heavenly Father, we ask that You examine our hearts and help us to get rid of any guilt or doubts that might linger. Help us to look back at our decision to follow You as the most important decision in our lives.
Thanksgiving – Lord, we give thanks to You for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That only through Him, can we look forward to Your promise of eternal salvation.