6/13/15: Passing the Mantle
We read in 2 Kings chapter 2 of the prophet Elijah’s translation into heaven and the inauguration of his servant, Elisha, as the next prophet in his stead. Elijah knew he was leaving so he said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha answered, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me” II Kings 2:9 (NKJ). Elijah’s response to Elisha was, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so” II Kings 2:10.
Sure enough, Elisha witnessed the chariot and horses of fire that came from heaven and took Elijah up in a whirlwind. Then it’s important for us to see what Elisha did next. “…he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him…” II Kings 2:12b -13a. After this, Elisha immediately began to operate in his new calling, God demonstrating through him the answer to his request to have received a double portion of the spirit that was on Elijah.
We don’t talk much these days about the passing of mantles; nowadays we refer to this kind of thing as “leaving a legacy.” The two are very different though. Whereas a legacy is defined as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past,” a mantle is the transmittal or the passing on of a spiritual heritage. Legacy comes through people to us; mantle comes from God through people to us.
We have a responsibility to live out the spiritual heritage – to take up the mantle – that has been passed to us from God by the generations before us. I’ve heard lots of people say that they are only here today because of the prayers of their fathers, mothers, grandfathers, and grandmothers. If we would look intently at those precious old saints, we’d see that they did more than pray for us. They worked diligently for the Lord in their church or in their own ministries, read their Bibles daily, and distributed to the necessities of other saints. They left of us an example of how to work as a child of God.
What are we doing about the mantle that has been left for us? Like Elisha, it’s long about time that we tore off our own “clothes” – our own ideas about what we want to do with our lives – and don the mantle God has left for us to wear. That mantle has been lovingly and diligently prayed over and worn by our spiritual progenitors. Let’s take up the mantle and live out the spiritual heritage expected of us.
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