Have you ever seen a police dog at work? There is an uncanny sense of determination that drives these highly trained animals to do their job. With a single command from their handler they jump to their feet ready, focused and set to complete thier mission. One other characteristic that stands out is the incredible sense of loyalty they have to their human counterpart, a loyalty that often rivals that of human relationships.
Elisha was confident of his calling to serve the Lord (an important leadership principle). In some respects, his story reminds me of that of Solomon’s. Elisha followed closely in the footsteps of Elijah, one of the greatest prophets of his time. It is Elisha’s response to Elijah’s question that is reminiscent of Solomon’s response to God’s question. When asked what he (Elijah) could do for him, Elisha did not request the desire for status or fame. He requested a double portion of his Spirit, a request that shows us his desire to serve the Lord in ways that go far beyond his human capabilities. 2 Kings chapter 2 highlights the story of Elijah’s spectacular parting from this world to be with God in heaven. As I read through this chapter my attention was drawn to the determination and loyalty of Elisha to stick by Elijah’s side despite his attempts to have him stay behind. When I consider the loyalty displayed by Elisha to follow his mentor, I can’t put aside the bigger picture, his loyalty to God. Elisha was on a mission for God.
Elisha was a regular guy, working what was likely a regular job for many in that time. The text tells us that he was ready to follow Elijah when he came and “claimed” him for service. The words “ready to follow” carry a powerful message here for us in context to Elisha’s calling. For many of us today, God had been preparing or is still preparing our hearts for His service. Life carries us in many directions. One day we could be plowing a field like Elisha and be called into leadership or we could be working in the wholesale plumbing business and be called into ministry. Wherever we are, young or old, the Lord has a plan for our lives and when He calls we need to be like Elisha, ready and determined to do great things.