“So Elijah departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.” – 1 Kings 19: 19
I remember very clearly the moment I left the business world to pursue full-time ministry. I was so sure that God was calling me go to seminary, but handing over my client book to my manager – it was in the ancient days before computers – well, that was a defining moment in my life. When the prophet Elijah showed up to name Elisha as his successor, that was a defining moment in Elisha’s life.
It was the middle of a work day and Elisha was out in the fields of his parents’ farm when Elijah showed up and draped his mantle, or cloak, over his shoulders. Today the expression, “to pass on the mantle of leadership or responsibility,” is pretty common. Few realize that this concept actually comes from this Biblical story. In the ancient times, a mantle was a sleeveless cloak worn over the outer garments for warmth. However, when Elijah placed it onto Elisha’s shoulders, it symbolized the transferring of spiritual leadership.
Elisha knew exactly what was happening in this moment and ran to tell his parents. Next we see him sacrifice his oxen to God and leave with Elijah. This was Elisha’s all-in moment. By sacrificing the oxen, Elisha was essentially saying there’s no going back. His old life as the son of a wealthy farmer and working in the fields was over. He was choosing to accept God’s call and step into this new life as Elijah’s successor. Talk about a huge step of faith and a defining moment in Elisha’s life – that was it!
Are you facing a defining moment in your faith journey? Maybe God is asking you to trust Him by making a drastic career change. Maybe it’s a move to another city where you know no one. Maybe it’s finally forgiving that person who hurt you, or it’s reaching out to share what you have with a neighbor who’s struggling. Ask God for the courage and faith to leave the old behind and step into what’s ahead. Don’t miss a defining moment in your faith journey.