After God’s display of might on Mount Sinai, the Lord met Elisha as the sound of a gentle whisper: “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as My prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!” (I Kings 19:15-18).
God’s message was filled with a ton of good news for Elisha: (1) Ahab and Jezebel were about to be removed from power; (2) Elijah wasn’t to worry about being the only prophet of God – the Lord was sending him to anoint his trainee/replacement; and (3) there were “7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal.”
Elijah received a tank full of encouragement, foremost of which was the news of the “7,000 others.” During his showdown with the false prophets, Elijah may have witnessed massive numbers repent of their Baal worship, but God wanted him to know that one big event wasn’t the mark made by Elijah’s ministry. Even though Elijah had no idea of the effect his faithful ongoing witnessing had had, he’d been heard. There were “7,000 others who have never bowed to Baal.”
Don’t think your faithful witness – be it in words, deeds or daily lifestyle – is going unnoticed. Just as Elijah had to have been astounded by the number of people his witness had touched, you, my friend, will one day stand before our Heavenly Father and be equally amazed at the believers who came to faith through the simple touches of Jesus’ love you brought into their lives.
And when you need that ministry partner to help you keep doing what you’re doing? God will send him – at precisely the right moment. In His timing.
“So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, ‘First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!’
Elijah replied, ‘Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.’
So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant” (I Kings 19:19-21).
Elijah’s cloak (or mantle) symbolized his prophetic authority. In placing it upon Elisha’s shoulders, Elijah was conveying his authority to Elisha. For Elisha to respond by saying, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye” was possibly like the men who said they would follow Jesus in Luke 9:57-62. One said he’d come after he’d buried his father. The other said almost the exact same thing as Elisha. In both cases, Jesus’ response made it clear that they were choosing good over best. And this is what Elijah was saying to Elisha.
Good things can prevent us from doing the best things for the glory of God. Don’t settle for good or even better. Give your best. Be your best. Because you’re serving the Best.
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” (Mother Teresa)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates