Vol.5, No. 01 – January 26, 2020
Elijah . . . The One God Uses
1 Kings 19:19
So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him –1 Kings 19:19
In chapter twenty-four, Peter Drucker, begins (The Leader of the Future), with this dynamic paragraph:
Will the leader please stand up? Not the president or the person with the most distinguished title, but the role model. Not the highest paid person in the group, but the risk taker. Not the person with the largest car or the biggest home, but the servant. Not the person who promotes himself or herself, but the promoter of others. Not the administrator, but the initiator. Not the taker, but the giver. Not the talker, but the listener. –C. William Pollard
Elijah needed to pick his successor—it was time. He walks through the farm fields of Galilee, watching the son of Shaphat plowing with a team of oxen. Shaphat’s father is rich, prosperous; Shaphat is hard working and faithful.
The prophet takes off his hairy sheepskin cloak; puts it on the shoulders of the farm lad, Elisha. Who would have known.
This cloak is a mantle. The act is the transfer of authority, the investment of leadership for the years to come. Elisha ups and leaves the field. He leaves his family. It is significant that what he was using; his oxen, the yoke, the wooden plowshares, and all the implements related to his past life become consumed. All in a final gathering and feast with his family and friends.
What an odd mix of metaphors—he burns all his bridges, and seemingly eats them! Then he leaves family and friends.
There are some lessons from this section of Scripture:
- The real leader for the people of God stands out as one who is going about their common daily work
- This one with the mantle now on the shoulder was not called during their “quiet time”
- This one with the mantle did not receive the call during a dedication service, or a service of calling in the local church
- This one with the mantle was not busy reading “On Becoming One of God’s Heroes“
- This one was following the plough—doing the expected in the business one was in; then God calls!
There is more:
- There are distinct individuals that God calls to specific work
- Leaders are not all “cut from the same mold”
- Some leaders come from rough work backgrounds
- Some leaders come from lives of solitude and loneliness
- Some leaders get called by city folk (like Elisha)—God selects those through whom He issues the call
- Some carriers of the call might call down fire, or condemn sin; yet the receiver usually is gentle and a blessing to others
- Some carriers of the call might be as a wind, earthquake, and fire; yet the receiver usually has a still small voice
- Here is an absolute truth: Every believer is a leader of someone. Thus, we cannot dismiss the impact of Scripture regarding leadership, because “we do not see ourselves as leaders.” The issue is how God sees us and what God expects of us.
On the contrary, the parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. –1 Corinthians 12:22-26
God has put the body of Christ (the church) together in such a way that extra honor and care are given, to those parts that might otherwise seem less important. It is a thought well-worth our consideration. How has God called you to serve? It requires hearing Him, rather than listening to what one wants.
Some are like Ruth or Esther. Some are like Elisha or Elijah. What are you like? God has a plan and a purpose for everyone He creates. Jeremiah 29:11-13
Do not neglect to critically read and critically think through the points of this blog and upcoming blogs that can make a difference in your life in Christ. Our New Year is a new opportunity to learn what God has in store for us.