1 Kings 19:19-21
So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and he took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.
In this setting, we find young Elisha minding his own business when suddenly without warning the man of God, the Bible says, cast his mantle on his shoulders! Everyone in life will have this moment, when destiny comes calling! I can remember when God threw that mantle on my shoulders. There I was a young, insignificant and shy young man, just there to enjoy another church service. I wasn’t perfect at that time, in fact I will admit to you I was struggling. My brother, who is my twin and has always been my best friend and partner in crime, had stopped coming to church. I wrestled with who I was and who I wanted to be. I can still remember that first service, I never realized how much I depended on him, but the truth of the matter was I did. He was my security blanket, and when he was gone I had no one to lean on. I was standing at my pew, and the Lord spoke to me for the first time in my life….
Will you choose him or me….
It wasn’t a threat, a challenge or even a rebuke; it was a loving God reaching for a troubled young person. He encouraged me with scriptures of promise…
- Proverbs 18:24 “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
- Psalm 27:10 “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.”
All my life my identity, my strength and my hope all rested in my family. And now without warning I was launched into the world by myself! And the still small voice of peace whispered comfort to me in my conflict; I’m here for you.
It can be difficult after the call has been received, what do I do? What can I do? Who am I? Where am I going? The uncertainties of your future seem even more uncertain, and the struggle of separation really gets challenged. It was strange really, friends at school began inquiring of my weekend activities, began wanting to hang out more. Inevitably girls wanted to talk to me now, it shouldn’t amaze us that when the mantle is placed on the shoulders of a vessel, Hell will attempt to destroy that vessel. Do you think hell ever envisioned young David actually slaying Goliath? In the mind of Satan that giant should’ve destroyed that child before God could use him! This is how the enemy operates, he’ll launch an attack that is designed to absolutely destroy you! The biggest challenge in this point of your life isn’t the giant unfortunately. It is the abandonment of all your plans and goals in exchange for his purpose.
Look at Elisha, after he feels the pressure of the mantle resting on his shoulders, he immediately asks the man of God to give him permission to settle some things around the house first.
“Listen for the call of your destiny, and when it comes, release your plans and follow.”
There will always be things that need to happen first, there will always be things you need to do before you can allow yourself to completely give yourself to the calling of God. You will never be prepared for ministry; I relate this to the military, although training is invaluable, and the experience of this training can be the difference between life and death, that training does not simulate actual warfare! You will learn as you go and you will trust the voice of your commanding officer in that atmosphere! The same goes for ministry. While I firmly believe in the necessity of ministerial training, nothing will prepare you for the duties of ministry until you learn to walk in the fire. Did the 3 Hebrew boys learn how to survive the fiery furnace? Did Daniel learn how to survive a night in a lion’s den? Did David necessarily learn how to slay a giant? No! They simply trusted in the voice that called them, and they knew if God was for them, then it doesn’t matter what or who is against them!! Because the Lord promised in his word that he will never forsake us when we need him most!
My challenge to anyone reading this who is struggling with the call of God, let yourself go! Don’t allow all your inadequacies to hinder you; remember Moses couldn’t speak, David couldn’t control his lust and Peter couldn’t control his emotions! But these great men of God never allowed their inabilities keep them from being used of God! All God needs is your willingness, and your submission to his purpose will set you on a course of success, the world can’t even imagine!
“Your greatest ability is availability”