Accept God’s Mission

Sunday, June 30

6-30By Dale Luffman, Council of Twelve Apostles

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven…Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here… but Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” As they continued walking and talking…Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father!…But when he could no longer see him…he picked up the mantle of Elijah…

—2 Kings 2:1–2, 11–13

We can learn many of the skills for ministry. This is my experience. We often seek a minister of high competence, one who has gained the community’s confidence of faith. We look to people who embark on the vocation of ministry. This is the case for Elisha as he looks to Elijah, who sought him out to cloak him with his prophetic mantle. God called Elisha to be a minister to promote God’s purposes for Israel.

Elisha serves Elijah and receives on-the-job training. Developing the skills of ministry is not easy. It is based on more than desire or personality. Formation of disciples is hard work! That is why Community of Christ tries to aid developing ministry by offering seminary and Ministerial Education and Discipleship Studies courses. Elisha comes to understand that preparing for ministry is not only hard, but costly, sometimes confusing, and exhausting. Elisha stretches as he is tested.

Often, ministry does test us. A competent, learned mentor like Elijah is significant to the Elishas of this world. They help those who embark on developing the gifts of ministry that honor God and serve the needs of people of faith.

But it is hard to let go of those who wisely lead and teach us. We find it easier to follow than lead. Elisha discovers this. Grieving, Elisha nonetheless takes up the mantle of Elijah and extends the prophetic witness. He does not give up! Elijah had called Elisha to vigilance and to faithful witness so Yahweh’s mission might be evident in Israel’s life. Elisha receives the testimony that he needs in Elijah’s departure.

He now picks up his mantle and is confirmed in his new role of ministry.

Prayer for Peace
We are listening for your call, God. We await our part in Christ’s mission. We will prepare ourselves as disciples to share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Develop Disciples to Serve
Read and reflect on Psalm 42:1–2. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to respond to people and their needs. The call to journey inward can restore us in times of physical or spiritual depletion.

When you are thirsty, dry, and empty, listen prayerfully again to the psalm: “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” As you feel restored, thank God for the opportunity to be a responding, serving disciple. Remember this exercise as you drink water throughout the day.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will pick up my mantle and accept a new role.

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