“Then Elijah said to the people, ‘I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men’.” (1 Kings 18:22).
In yesterday’s Gospel passage, Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. In this analogy, Jesus not only highlights our importance to the world but He also indicates why we are few in number. Like Elijah who stood as one man against four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, devoted Christians today must learn to stand almost alone against a world that swims in darkness and evil.
Why does it happen that there are only a few persons who prefer light to darkness? Why is Elijah standing alone? To think that this contest took place in Israel, the very land of God’s chosen people is shocking. Humans are social animals; we are conditioned to go with the flow, we do what everyone else is doing. Whatever is popular is okay by us. We are too scared to be different.
This is why Jesus himself says: “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14). Again that “the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.” (Luke 10:12, Matthew 9:37). Again, “many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14). The question is: “Wouldn’t you rather be one of the few”? Like Elijah, do you have the courage to be the last man standing?
What does it take be an Elijah today? Jesus answers this question in today’s Gospel passage; simply put, NO COMPROMISE. There are many Christians who began very well, they were so devoted to God and aspired for heaven, but as time goes on they began to bend little by little. You hear things like, “After all, God understands, it is not that bad; it is just a little lie.” A little this, a little that and like water dripping from a leaking bucket, we soon become dry and begin to align with the world.
As Jesus puts it: “Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19).
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, bless with me the courage of Elijah; to remain with you even if I am the only one left standing. Amen. Bible Study: 1 Kings 18:20-39, Psalm 16:1-11, Matthew 5:17-19).