Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. 2 Kings 2:6
As Elijah’s life draws to a close, I wonder how his commitment to discipleship can remain so strong. He was confident in his destination, yet he was committed to the earthly partnership God had placed in his path. Elijah, the one who had gone from mountaintops to valleys, is steady to the end. The once depressed prophet, pouring out his wisdom and instruction until his last day.
What a contrast to the time in Elijah’s life when he chose to go it alone. When he left his servant and went into a cave. Into despair. Now he can’t get Elisha to leave him. And it’s for the better. The prophet apprentice lends strength to the aging man of God and reminds him that the sovereign Lord’s purposes do not depend upon one man alone.
Elisha’s commitment to discipleship amazes me as well. His attitude reminds me of Ruth’s when she refuses to leave her mother-in-law, Naomi’s side. No one would blame her. In fact, both Naomi and Elijah attempt to dissuade their younger companions. To no end. What a beautiful picture of commitment on their part as well. This fierce conviction said “I’m not going to be anywhere but by your side.” To learn from you, grow with you, partner with you until the end.
I’m not sure I would have the courage or energy to stay committed to discipleship as long as Elijah did. As he saw the day draw near when he would be in the presence of his Lord, I can’t help but think how easy it would have been for him to focus solely on his destination, not on the ones he would leave behind. And I don’t know that I would have the tenacity to stick with an older mentor so faithfully as Elisha did. If you were Elijah or Elisha, how do you think you would respond to these circumstances? Today, determine to reach out with a word of encouragement to a former or current mentor of yours. If you don’t have a mentor, make it a goal to pray daily for someone to come alongside you and speak wisdom into your life.
By Ellen Rosenberger