The impact we leave on this earth is often measured by what we are passing on to the next generation. Each of us has a purpose in this life, but the assignments God gives us to fulfill that purpose are not always easy. The Prophet Elijah had the huge responsibility of overseeing Israel and before his work for the Lord was finished, God gave him one final assignment: to transfer his mission to Elisha (1 Kings 19:15-18).
Elisha was a young man and when Elijah found him, he was plowing in his father’s field (1 Kings 19:18). The Bible tells us his father had a lot of land and many oxen, which meant the family was wealthy. The family had plenty of hired help to take care of their fields, yet here was this young man—privileged, wealthy, and entitled—getting his hands dirty, plowing in the field.
However, although Elijah recognized the character of this young man, he still needed to test him to see if he was up for the challenge. So, he passed his role on to Elisha in an odd way:
Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. (1 Kings 19:19, NKJV)
In other words, Elijah literally threw his cloak at the boy. No greeting, no small talk, nothing… just threw his jacket at Elisha. The boy didn’t get offended, but accepted the mantle and followed Elijah.
As the Prophet Elijah prepared Elisha to carry on his legacy, he was tough on him, but that was exactly what Elisha needed. Similarly, we need God to be a little tough on us, too, at times, because tough times call for tough people. That’s why the role of a father is so important. Mothers are known for their nurturing, gentle ways, but fathers and male role models serve a unique purpose: to provide tough love. This is very valuable, especially for young men. Elijah was purposefully rough with Elisha, not because he was cruel, but because he needed to ensure that his new protégé was fit to be the Prophet of Israel.
What a legacy to leave behind! We are not products of our environment, but of the choices we make. Elijah and Elisha both made choices to put God’s will above their own and even though the training ground was tough, Elisha rose to the occasion and continued Elijah’s work in Israel.
Can God trust you to carry on His legacy in the earth? Sure, it may be difficult at times, but it’s through the tougher parts of life that God shapes and refines us into who He intends us to be. Our Father knows what’s in us and He knows what it will take to bring it out of us so He can use us to carry on His great work!
And remember, God will be there with you every step of the way!
Dr. Derek Grier
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