SCRIPTURE: 2 Kings 2:13-15
Elisha Succeeds Elijah
13 He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. 15 When the company of prophets who were at Jericho saw him at a distance, they declared, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” They came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.
Haywood Barringer Spangler shares that “Elisha suggests for us that faithfulness may be expressed by a commitment to discerning God’s will. Faithfulness may be expressed by embracing the suspense or ambiguity that is part of life, and asking, “What is God calling me to do in this situation?” Elisha also suggests that we may have to discern God’s will through action. This challenges us to develop and maintain a God-centered perspective—a perspective implied by Elisha’s persistence in following Elijah and pursuing the prospect of God’s empowerment. Sometimes we may prefer security and certainty to God’s empowering us for a risky calling. In seeking security and certainty, we may ignore or confuse our own desires and conventions with God’s direction. Elisha’s experience invites us to seek critical distance from our own interests, to grapple with uncertainty, and to strive to forward God’s purposes in the choices we make.”
Pastors will often share their “call story” or the story of how they heard and responded to the call that God placed on their hearts to enter into God’s ministry. But the truth is that God calls ALL people to discern God’s will and to try to understand just what God is asking us to do in any given situation. This can be challenging for any of us as we have the desires of our own hearts and minds that push us in certain directions, which may or may not be in conflict with what God is calling us to do. And God’s call may be to something that we are afraid of or worried about because we do not feel like we are in control. But we must always remember that there is nowhere that God calls us to that God is not already there and journeying with us on the way.
How often do you intentionally take time to try to discern what God may be calling you to do in a given situation? Do you find that you only do this is difficult situations, or in all situations you encounter? What things do you do to help you quiet your own desires to better hear God’s call to you?
Loving and leading God, help us to be faithful and express that faithfulness by working to discern your will. Inspire us to always be listening for what you are calling us to do, in all situations, not just those that challenge us. We give you thanks for your continued calls to us in our lives, helping us to be better people and share your love with the world. Amen.