So, he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yokes of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” 21 And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him. 1 Kings 19:19-21
Some factors that helped Elijah get back in the game was being around others, having a team, and being a part of a community. Elijah tended to be in solitude, a mountain man type, fiercely devoted to God. After all the “training” he’d been through, on the mountain, healing the widow’s son, hearing the whisper, he’s a different man. He’s still listening and obeying the word of the Lord but now he’s with a team member. Now Elisha is his disciple, a mentee, an assistant, in calling Israel back to the one true God. They are “climbing up the hills and out of the valleys” that Israel is in, ministering to their people together.
Elijah needed Elisha. God picked him specifically to carry out his plan and encourage Elijah after all he’d been through. Elisha needed Elijah. The mantle was transferred, he learned from the elder prophet, and stayed with him until he left the earth. They worked side by side in the Lord’s work, each with different gifts and personalities. The partnership was mutual. Elijah is inspired by how Elisha takes his call seriously, how Elisha gives up everything and is honored by the privilege and responsibility given to him. Elijah doesn’t pressure Elisha; its between God and him. Elisha respectfully says goodbye to his parents and celebrates his new profession with his community. He leaves his loved ones with full support to join Elijah on God’s mission.
Elijah’s mantle is passed on to Elijah. The community of prophets has a new leader, inspiration, example and the mission continues. We need community to keep going. Who’s on your team? You need a team and a team needs you. God’s given you gifts to use to build up the church. God has a plan for your life and people to help you carry it out. Spend some time listening to God about where and how you can be a better team member. Thank someone who encouraged and inspired you who was part of a successful team with you.
By Donna Burns