Most are familiar with the biblical story of the prophet Elijah introduced to us in 1 Kings 17 and how his life plays out during the following several chapters. He had an amazing entry point into the biblical narrative with the prophecy that there would be no rain or dew upon the land according to his word. The land entered a time of drought and because of this a time of famine.
Elijah hid for a time by a the brook Cherith and later stayed in the home of a widow woman. Each of these events are accompanied with amazing miracles of God’s intervention and sustaining for Elijah. The zenith of his life no doubt would be the great showdown on Mount Carmel with the 450 prophets of Baal before the undecided children of Israel. Who can forget that scene and the great miracle of God answering by fire. What a ministry high point! What an addition to his prophet’s resume.
But in 1 Kings chapter 19 the story begins to spiral downward from it’s pinnacle. And this is the main thesis of my post today. All of us have high points and low points in ministry. As we look back over the years we can think of times when God sustained us and times when it seemed we were alone. We have had victories and defeats. In this chapter Elijah runs from a woman. He ran for his life. He requested that he might die. He felt alone. God was not there for him in the wind, earthquake or the fire, but God was there in the still small voice that asked him again, What doest thou here?
That is a good question for all of us. It reminds us where we are in our life and ministry. And no matter where we are or what excuse we have for being where we are, the message of the Lord to us is always the same – “GO” (1 Kings 19:15). There is something more for you to do. Elijah, you have some prophet work to do. (1 Kings 19:15-16) And your work will lead you to who will wear the mantle, who will be the prophet in your place.
Who will take your place? As I have opportunity to travel around at times and meet pastors, missionaries, church leaders and members I am amazed that so many act as if they will continue on in their place forever. They have no one that they are preparing to “anoint” in their place. If the mantle were cast who’s shoulders would it fall upon?
Many churches are not hearing messages the Holy Spirit can use to call out their “Barnabas and Saul” members to go. Many are not calling Timothy’s to go along with them to prepare them for carrying on in their place. Our ministry leaders are aging and if we are not prayerfully preparing the next generation we may see only a fallen mantle with no one to carry on the work of the ministry. My prayer is that God will help us to have someone to cast our mantle upon. Where is your Elisha? Find him!