"So Elijah left there and found Elisha son of Shaphat, whose plowing was being done with twelve yoke of oxen, and he drove the twelfth. Elijah crossed over to him and cast his mantle upon him. He left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, Let me kiss my father and mother, and then I will follow you. And he [testing Elisha] said, Go on back. What have I done to you? [Settle it for yourself.]"
(1 Kings 19:19-20)
Elijah was a prophet who was set apart by God to do His will. In essence, Elijah was called to the ministry. The "casting of his mantle upon him" represents anointing. When someone has a mantle placed upon him, they are anointed and set apart for a special office or function (just as when a king is anointed with oil before walking into his place in office).
These anointed individuals are hand-picked by God. However, don't feel left out. The good news is that all Christians are pre-destined by God for a special calling or purpose in their lives. God is in the business of using ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
Notice that when Elisha was "anointed," he didn't immediately start his ministry (or bible study, or youth group, or street evangelism, church, or whatever). He didn't just blindly start walking into office without any training. After being anointed by Elijah, he then, followed him. He wasn't puffed up or boastful about his new position. He had the wisdom to know that he would first need to follow Elijah's teaching in order to walk in the fullness of the anointing God had set before him.
Elijah and Elisha knew the importance of discipleship. Elisha had to have a "teachable" spirit in order to humbly follow into Elijah's footsteps. God honored Elisha's time of training by giving him a double-portion of Elijah's spirit. By walking in meekness and allowing himself to be discipled, Elisha gained a greater anointing than his predecessor! (See 2 Kings 2).
Having discipleship in churches today is critical. The basic elements of discipleship should include teaching, mentoring, and friendship. A relationship that is based on discipleship should highlight the importance of abiding in God's word daily. As Christians, we must be disciplined enough to teach others and humble enough to be taught by others. It is fundamental in our personal walk and relationship with Christ.
"In our faith we follow in someone's steps. In our faith we leave footprints to guide others. It's the principle of discipleship." -- Max Lucado
Christina is the founder of Relentless Love Ministries and lives in Linton. She is an active speaker, guest lecturer, and published author. For more information, questions, or comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org .