So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” I Kings 19:15, 16, 19-21
Six verses in the Bible transform the lives of two men. Before these verses, Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal and won a mighty victory for God. He then heard threats on his life from Jezebel and ran. Angels ministered to him along the way. God met him at Horeb, the mountain of God and spoke to him in a still, small voice. Scores of sermons have used this passage for messages dealing with depression, listening for God’s voice, and not burning out while in God’s service. But what happened next?
God delivered specific instructions to Elijah: anoint a new king of Syria and Israel and anoint Elisha prophet in his place. Elijah found Elisha plowing with a yoke of oxen on a large farming operation evidenced by the twelve yoke of oxen. Elijah stopped, tossed his mantle on Elijah and walked away.
We read that Elisha ran after him, knowing what that gesture meant.
Matthew Henry’s commentary says “Elijah did but cast his mantle upon him. (v. 19), in token of friendship, that he would take him under his care and tuition as he did under his mantle, and to be one with him in the same clothes, or in token of his being clothed with the spirit of Elijah”
Scripture reveals that Elisha took a moment to count the cost, said goodbye to his family and made sure they were taken care of before joining Elijah.
God will often call us when we least expect it to join Him in ministry, whether to teach Sunday school, volunteer for a charitable organization, or even open our home to a foster child. As demonstrated by Elisha, it’s okay to ask questions, count the cost, and make sure our family is provided for as we make a decision. We need to open to God’s will and way even when it interrupts our schedule. A whispered “yes” can transform your life in ways you’ve never thought possible.
Father God, help me to always be open to your call. Give me the courage to say “yes.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.