"So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. . . . Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant."
— 1 Kings 19:21
When Elijah threw his mantle, or his outer garment, on Elisha, it was a symbolic gesture that said, "I'm passing on my calling to you."
From the account we find in 1 Kings 19, we discover a few things about Elisha. First, we know that he was a relatively wealthy man and came from an affluent home.
How do we know that? Because the Bible says that he had 12 yoke of oxen. Back in those days, owning one pair of oxen meant that you were pretty well off. To have 12 would mean that you had a considerable acreage.
For Elisha to follow Elijah was not an easy life.
Elijah's invitation was not to a leisurely life on easy street. Elijah's life was a hard one. He had many enemies. He had people who hated him, most notably, Queen Jezebel. For Elisha to follow Elijah would mean that he would have the same enemies. The same people who hated Elijah would now hate him.
Many people are surprised to find that the Christian life is not a playground, but a battleground. The day that you decide to follow Jesus Christ, you begin to face opposition from the devil. He doesn't want you to grow spiritually. He doesn't want you to move forward. So he will use every trick up his sleeve to try and pull you back.
We must recognize that to follow Christ means there is a price to pay. We may lose some friends. We may have to give up a few things. It may be difficult at times. But certainly, it is worth it.
My prayers are with Pastor Greg due to the tragic death of his son.