I love the story of Elijah in the Old Testament. One of my favorite passages is in 1 Kings 19 when the Lord comforts Elijah through a gentle whisper. Elijah had reached a very low point in his ministry career. He felt abandoned, alone, unappreciated and unsure of the future. Not only did he have these “feelings” weighing heavily on his heart – but he was facing a realistic threat of physical harm.
Interestingly enough, God did not console him or apologize to him for the “bad times” he was now facing. Elijah even took the opportunity to remind God of all that he did for the Lord. “He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too’” (1 Kings 19:14 NIV).
But God wasn’t finished with the work he would have Elijah do. Elijah would go on and train up a successor in his ministry, Elisha. Elisha had the benefit of learning from Elijah as a mentor.
Several years ago, when my children were small and I was still trying to figure out motherhood, I constantly found myself failing. I read parenting books and magazines, but much of the information served to point out how I fell short rather than how to be encouraged. One area I was desperately lacking in was guiding their spiritual development.
I was fortunate to have a friend come alongside me and mentor me.
I am sure that God knew exactly what I needed and how I needed it to accomplish this task when He sent this friend to me. She asked me to teach Sunday school with her. At first I was scared. I had never gone to Sunday school as a child and did not really know what to expect. Plus, it was 5th grade (my own kids were much younger) and I was not certain how to interact with 10 and 11 year-olds. My friend was patient with me as I learned what was needed to be a productive part of the teaching team.
I do not think I would be here today – sharing my heart, thoughts, and life lessons if it had not been for the encouragement and guidance I received from my mentor. It’s important to share what you know with others – to encourage them along their journey.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).
After God told Elijah he still had work to do, he met Elisha. Apparently Elisha felt as if his own life was lacking a sense of purpose and godly direction because when Elijah called him to come along he eagerly did so. The Bible tells us, “He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people; and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant” (1 Kings 19:21). I know – this sounds like a really weird thing to do – but when I read the study note at the bottom of the page of my Bible, it made sense. The note says that “by killing his oxen, Elisha made a strong commitment to follow Elijah. Without them, he could not return to his life as a wealthy farmer. This meal was more than a feast among farmers. It was an offering of thanks to the Lord who chose Elisha to be his prophet.”
Elisha would carry on Elijah’s ministry and would do twice as many miracles as we read of Elijah.
I am thankful for my friend who took time with me and shared her knowledge, insight and heart for sharing God’s word with others. So don’t give up, Dear Ones, God is not finished with you yet – perhaps He has an Elisha just waiting for you to come on by and call.
Copyright ©2017 Kelly Morris