2 Kings 13:18-19 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”
I was struck by a new insight into this story of Elisha, the king and the arrows. It involves another layer of application. This story has been a helpful illustration of the importance of doing things whole-heartedly, and not holding back. The king had no idea that his response had prophetic implications – not only for him but for the whole nation.
God’s provision was predicated on how he responded to Elisha’s command – and Elisha didn’t tell him that it did. “Oh by the way King; be sure to keep hitting the ground until I tell you to stop or you’re in trouble.” When the king responded half-heartedly, Elisha angrily rebuked him and informed him of the negative consequences of his actions. What a missed opportunity!
This is a specific illustration but the principle behind it is a treasure in itself. What I saw is that the principle of whole-hearted response to given situations is only part of it. Another application is having a whole-hearted attitude in ‘seeing’ and finding the opportunities that are available to us.
There are many opportunities that come our way – opportunities that allow us to be God’s hands extended – but how many do we see and take advantage of? Remember the springtime illustration of me asking our sons when they were little what colors they saw when we went for walks in the woods? They had to experience a change of what they were looking for to notice the many spring colors that surrounded them.
The colors were ‘lost’ in the black, brown and gray of the woods after winter. Are we so busy that we avoid seeing opportunities? Do we experience an “Oh no.” kind of mentality when we think we might be asked to serve – again!
I have to repent, because just as I typed the word ‘again’ in that last sentence, I thought of a very specific situation that I experience regularly where that is precisely my attitude. Understand, we’re not talking about saying “Yes” to every opportunity that presents itself. The issue is our attitude. The Lord will guide us when we look to Him for wisdom in responding to the opportunities we find.