2 Kings 2:9-11
And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
He had started preaching at a pretty young age, and he knew that his career would be in ministry. He never felt called to anything other than feeding souls. In his first few decades of leading a flock he saw this as his work to do. He wanted to fulfill God’s calling for his life, but he could not see how that calling extended beyond himself. As he progressed with this congregation and parishioners aged and began to move on to the next phase of life, he was struck like a ton of bricks. He was not getting any younger, and he never thought to raise up another leader to take his place in leading those he would leave behind one day. That is when he realized that walking out his calling included preparing the way for someone else to continue that work.
I do not think that any one of us is put here for however many years we live in these natural bodies with no purpose beyond our own generation. Scripture is replete with examples of God’s servants passing along the mantle to the next in line. Elijah passed a figurative and literal mantle to Elisha when his time here was coming to an end, and I believe God has that for us as well. The two questions we must ask ourselves is whose legacy we will continue, and who will continue ours. Actually, we are all just continuing the legacy of Jesus Christ, but it is critical to know who is passing the baton our way and who will get it next. There is an individual as well as a corporate purpose in this kind of discipleship, and God wants not one of us to be on a spiritual island.
It is for us to seek how the Lord has linked us together in our legacy of ministry. Nothing starts and stops with me, and nothing starts and stops with you. This is his work we are doing, and He has mapped this out over millennia. We should be keen to search for the relay racers before and behind us. God will show us where we fit as long as we are willing to partake in this great legacy. The work of Elijah was critical for Israel, but it would not end with him. There was much more to do, and he had to find the one who was willing to take that mantle from him. Father, keep us vigilant to seek those who are prepared to pass the legacy to us and those who will be prepared to take it after our race ends.