Taking Up the Mantle
Title: Taking Up the Mantle
Reading for April 21: 2 Kings 1-3
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.
2 Kings 2:9-12
We find an inspiring story here at the end of Elijah’s ministry. Elijah has mentored his faithful disciple Elisha. The young apprentice has seen the hardship his teacher has had to endure. The office of prophet has not been an easy one for Elijah. His preaching has not brought him wealth or praise from men. Far from it! The aged prophet has been called the “troubler of Israel” by the king himself. He has been persecuted and rejected by the royal court. At times he has even found himself running for his very life.
No doubt Elisha has learned something of the loneliness associated with being a true prophet of God. Yet when Elijah offers to do something for Elisha before he departs this world, Elisha doesn’t ask for an easier path. Instead, what he asks for is a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. He’s not asking for less responsibility, but more responsibility. This request is essentially asking for more trouble, more heartache, more loneliness, more persecution, not less.
I’ve been blessed by a lot of Elijah’s in my life. I’m sure you have been as well. As our mentors all get older and eventually depart from this life to their eternal reward, what is our heart’s desire? Do you and I want to take up the mantle of responsibility that they are leaving behind? Or do we merely want to remain on the sidelines and play it safe?
Father, help us to boldly accept whatever responsibility lies before us and willingly serve the next generation as our mentors have served us.