Monday, April 9, 2012

Elisha - An Example To Today's Minister

Luke 16:12 “And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

If you want to step into your own ministry one day, first be faithful to serve in another man’s ministry. How often do you think this is taught in Bible college? For that matter, how often do you think it’s taught from church pulpits? But, according to Jesus’ own words, faithfulness is more important than any other trait - even education. I’ve said it before, but in God’s eyes someone who faithfully cleans the church bathrooms for twenty years is more qualified to pastor a church than a fresh seminary graduate looking for a pulpit.

This is illustrated clearly with two prophets; Elijah and Elisha.

Elijah was a prophet during one of the darkest times of Israel’s history. The king of Israel at that time was Ahab, easily the worst king in their history. Because of his intense persecution of the followers of Yahweh, most of the godly people in Israel emigrated to the godly nation of Judah. In the entire nation, only seven thousand righteous people remained.

After Elijah’s most impressive showdown on Mount Carmel, he was forced into hiding by queen Jezebel. While he was alone in a cave, God told him to anoint a man named Elisha “as prophet in your place.” That’s exactly what Elijah did. He found Eli
sha plowing up his field and threw his coat over him.

In those days, a man’s coat signified his calling. Prophets wore unique coats - so did priests, kings, and many professional workers. In throwing his coat over Elisha, Elijah was giving a clear call. “Come, become a prophet like me.” Elisha left everything that very day and began to follow this prophet.

Imagine how amazing this must’ve been for Elisha. He was from a rather wealthy, well structured, and righteous family. Being a godly man, he’s already heard of this man Elijah. This was the man that stopped the rain for three years! This was the man that had just bested 850 false prophets on Mount Carmel! This was Elijah, the prophet - and he was calling Elisha to become like him! This must’ve been the most exciting moment in Elisha’s life.

But instead of learning to be a prophet, Elisha began to serve Elijah. In one day, Elisha went from being a well-off farmer to being known as “the man who poured water on Elijah’s hands - that is, a servant. For twenty years, Elisha never did a single miracle. For twenty years, he never prophesied once. For two decades, Elisha was only known as Elijah’s servant.

What’s even more amazing is that this was voluntary. Elijah wasn’t domineering Elisha. He wasn’t forcing him to serve. Elisha could’ve returned to his family at any point during that twenty years. It wasn’t Elijah’s control, it was Elisha’s faithfulness that kept him there.

After twenty years together, they began their last journey. Their trip took them through the cities of Bethel and Jericho. In each of the cities, there was a group of prophets. In each city, the prophets came to Elisha and said, “Do you know that your master is leaving soon?” Elisha responded, “Yes, I know it - now hush!”

You see, these prophets could hear the Spirit of God. They knew God’s voice and were in tune with God’s plan. But they didn’t recognize the importance of faithfulness. You can see this by the fact that they stayed put when Elijah left. Elisha followed with him, and because of that, he got the prophetic ministry that rested on Elijah. Elisha became an even more powerful prophet than his predecessor because he was faithful.

All these prophets saw with Elisha was a servant. They only called Elijah his master. But on the day that Elijah was taken away, Elisha calls him something different. As he watched Elijah going up to Heaven, Elisha cried out, “My father, my father!” He wasn’t serving this man because of control, he was serving him because of relationship. Even when he was mocked as a servant, he never went back to his old life.

If there was anything I wish every aspiring preacher would know, it’s this: don’t chase after your own ministry. Stop maneuvering to get a better position and ask God to send you to a minister to serve. When you’re faithful in what belongs to someone else, God will reward you with your own!

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