Today’s WORD (Text) 2 Kings 2:6 - 15
6/ Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. 7/ Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8/ Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other until the two of them crossed on dry ground. 9/ When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you before I am taken from you. Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” 10/ He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” 11/ As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12/ Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13/ He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14/ He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. 15/ When the company of prophets who were at Jericho saw him as a distance, they declared, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.”
Elisha’s devotion to his mentor and teacher, Prophet Elijah, is remarkable. Elijah was a prophet of extraordinary foresight and profound spiritual powers. Schools of prophets formed to learn from his craft and be discipled by him. The story of Elisha’s sojourn beside the elder prophet on his end-of-life tour, and of the “hard thing” that young Elisha asked of Elijah is jaw-dropping. My overwhelming sentiment is one of admiration for Elisha who respected Elijah as a servant of God to be emulated. Elisha was transparent and bold enough to ask Elijah if he could inherit his prophetic mantle.
When I think of notable men and women across diverse vocational fields, including the Gospel ministry, education, public service, health care, and more, so many have transitioned to the next life. Among the many that have inspired me personally are such icons as Gardner Taylor, Nathan A. Scott, Jr., William Augustus Jones, Jr., Prathia Hall Wynn; and others perhaps lesser-known such as Mamie Mae Hart, Henry Joseph Echols, H. Wesley Wiley, Sr., Willie L. Johnson, and many others. All of them possessed personal qualities and spiritual gifts that inspired me to achieve, aspire, and persevere in the faith. While committed to being authentic and developing as the unique person God created me to be, I was greatly influenced and inspired by others. Spiritual growth requires real-life mentors and role models who set the bar high for us. As Paul said, “I do not allege to have already obtained or reached my goal.” When I think back on cherished souls of blessed memory during this Black History Month who passed this way, giving everything they had, using every gift they were given, passing on the knowledge they possessed, I am thankful for their influence. And yes, there were times when privately I desired a double portion of their spirit.
Who are some of the spiritual role models, whether heralded or hardly known to others, that impacted you and inspired you to grow and aspire?
Dear God, we honor all those persons of blessed memory who touched our lives, some long years ago, and others only recently. Thank you for the spiritual examples and mentors who served you with everything they had. Rekindle within us the passion to grow spiritually and to positively impact our world for good as they did. We confess all those attributes and traits within us that slow our spiritual growth and obstruct our progress. Forgive us for the many times when we yield to the distracting temptations of this world and of the evil one. Cleanse the thoughts of our minds by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your Holy Name. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, in the Name of Jesus. Amen.
The Passionary Intention
Today, I choose to live my life with passion. Today, I intend to follow Christ more nearly, love more dearly and incarnate God’s grace more clearly by asking myself three questions:
- Where will I follow Christ today?
- To whom shall I demonstrate Jesus’ love and justice today?
- How can I play my part in practicing the presence of Christ, right here, right now?
The Passionary Movement Word and Witness devotion is published weekdays (Monday – Friday). Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies is the author of today’s devotion.
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