Lead others to serve
1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 2:6-14
Years ago a well-known boxer, raised in Louisville, Kentucky, named Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., was later called Mohammad Ali. This boxer boasted he was the greatest fighter ever, and many agree with his assessment. Ali “floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee” for a while, but his fame was short-lived. Ali died in 2016. His life had accomplishments, but he missed out on the ultimate achievement of following Christ and leading others to serve Him.
As Christians, our goal is to leave a spiritual legacy that outlives our “moment under the sun.” This legacy should involve leading others to follow Christ, serve Him and, therefore, bring glory to His Name. Our spiritual heroes who have gone before us paved the way for us to know Christ and serve Him, and we should do the same for others.
Lead others to follow and serve God (1 Kings 19:19-21).
A crucial part of Elijah’s calling was to “disciple” Elisha to continue his prophetic ministry. Elijah throws his cloak around Elisha, symbolizing the future passing of power and authority of this position.
Much like Elijah, Christians are to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20). Paul’s command to Timothy to invest in other believers must be embraced by each Christian (2 Tim. 2:2). Simply put, seek to lead others to follow and serve Christ. Actively be involved in making disciples. Serving God consists in investing our lives in the lives of others who will teach others to follow and serve God. Remember, the benefit is far greater than any apparent cost.
Serve with the end in mind (2 Kings 2:6-11).
Elijah, who has mirrored some of Moses’ life, is heading in the direction of Mt. Nebo, where Moses died. Elijah, Elisha and the prophets were aware that the time of Elijah’s departure was at hand.
Elisha requesting a double portion doesn’t mean he sought twice as much as any other successor. Instead, he was asking for the double portion of the firstborn (Deut. 21:17). In other words, Elisha is asking to be Elijah’s primary successor, which entitles him to the power to fulfill this role.
The “whirlwind” and chariots of fire are a visual sign of God’s activity in taking Elijah into Heaven. He finished the race well. We, too, must commit to finishing our race on Earth for the glory of God. Through difficulties and triumphs, disappointments and victories, Elijah finished strong. He did not give up. In much the same way, we must make sure we serve with the end in mind for others to follow behind us.
Serve so the ministry is ongoing (12-14).
Elijah going into Heaven was yet another sign of the incredible power of Yahweh. In 1 Kings 18, fire fell from Heaven, proving He is more powerful than Baal. Now fire comes from Heaven to show there is no God like Yahweh, who even conquers death! Because Elijah never dies, he becomes a forerunner of the Messiah and a hope for all believers.
After Elijah was taken into Heaven, Elisha could not mope around. The ministry of Yahweh is ongoing, so Elisha took up the mantle, indicating he accepted the role of leading prophet.
Not only did God grant him the position of prophet, but also necessary provision for this privilege. As Elisha struck the water, it parted; Elisha also inherited the spirit and power of Elijah.
What about your life? Are you training others to follow in your footsteps of service? Are you continuing the service of someone who has gone before you? Commit today to serve so Christ’s ministry is ongoing.
By Rob Jackson, Ph.D.
Jackson has served in a variety of ministry roles, including pastor and state missionary