After God scooped up Elijah, Elisha returned to the Jordan River with Elijah's mantle-the cloak that signified his prophetic office. As Elijah had done, Elisha touched the water of the river with the cloak and it divided so he could cross over on dry ground. The Elisha asked, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" (v.14). Elisha was expressing confidence that the same God who was with Elijah was now with him.
Is God still the same God with us?
God's Power is not Limited to a Particular Time or Place
Jesus "is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb 13:8). God does not change. From the very beginning, God has been active in the affairs of humanity. The God of 850 BC (the time of Elijah and Elisha) is just as powerful and active even today.
The passing of time does not cause God's arm to atrophy. Jesus is still leading men and women to salvation. God is still protecting His people from evil. And the HS is still empowering believers to experience supernatural lives.
God's Power is not Limited to a Particular Person
God's leaders may change, but God's power remains constant. Elijah had been taken, but Elisha remained-and the people of observed, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha" (2Ii 2:15). We easily get caught up in the cult of personality, believing that only so-and-so can carry on the work of God. No one is indispensable. God always has seven thousand waiting in the wings; He always has a backup plan.
God worked powerfully through Moses and then through Joshua, through David and then through Solomon, through Elijah and then through Elisha. And God can work powerfully through you, right where you are. Nothing you do will be more significant than living for Christ and helping others live for Christ. That is a legacy worth handling down to generations. And all it takes is an obedient heart, a humble spirit, and a little bit of faith. This is the perspective that significant legacies are built upon. But leaving a significant legacy requires more than the right perspective. We must also utilize the right principle.
God's Power measures Significance by Faithfulness, not by Success
The Old Testament could be summarized as the struggle between kings and prophets. The kings have the power, and the prophets have the principles. Most people have concluded that to be a significant person-they must be world-shakers and world-changers. In other words, they measure significance in terms of visible results. Truly successful-and therefore significant-people are those with microphones wowing crowds of thousands with brilliant, life-altering ideas or those who have the political muscle to change the status quo.
But these measures, we have to conclude that Elijah was not successful. Sure, he did a lot of miraculous things, but his dream of seeing his wayward countrymen return to God never materialized. He did have a modicum of success after Mount Carmel, but in the end even that success evaporated. Within a few generations, the Assyrian army swept through the northern kingdom of Israel, decimated the capital city, and dragged the people into exile. The few who remained internarried with foreigners and became the mixed-race Samaritans so hated by the Jews of Jesus' day.
If Elijah had defined significance as immediate and visible results, then it seems odd that his protege Elisha would desire to be just like his mentor. After they crossed the Jordan, Elijah said, "Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you." Elisha responded, "Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me" (1Ki 2:9). If significance equaled success in the eyes of Elisha, then his request is strange indeed, given that he wanted to be like a man who had very few tangible results to show from a life-time of ministry. Imagine a father who died bankrupt after teaching his son that money was the best way to keep score in life. Would the son say, "I want to be just like my dad-only twice as much?" I doubt it. But Elijah had faithfully taught Elisha by word and be example that God's measure of success is calculated not by dollars and cents or conversions but by continued faithfulness.
Faithfulness is one of those Christian words we throw around without precisely defining it. Because faithfulness is God's measure of significance, it is important to understand what the word means. Faithfulness means consistently following God's calling for your life and leaving the results to Him. Practically speaking, faithfulness looks like this: A faithful worker continues to give her best for a boss who shows little appreciation. A faithful husband continues to love his mate even when that love is unreturned. A faithful parent continues to pray for her rebellious child who continues to harden his heart toward God.
His life illustrated a long obedience in the same direction. When Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit, he was asking for the same quality that made his mentor a truly significant person in God's eyes: the ability to follow God against the headwinds of opposition and discouragement-and a lack of visible results. In the spiritual realm-where Elijah made his lasting impact-success is out of our control. We are called to be faithful servants of God and stewards of God's truth and to leave the results to Him.
Learn to Sweat the Small Stuff
Jesus said "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?" (LK 16:10-11). There are two reasons to faithfully fulfill small, seemingly mundane tasks with excellence. First, small things-when added together-become big things. For example, a twenty-year-old who invests only one hundred dollars a month at a reasonable rate of return over a long period of time will have millions of dollars by the time he or she is seventy-two. Similarly, investing ten minutes a day reading, praying, listening to your mate, or encouraging your family over several years can yield tremendous dividends. However, there is another reason for striving for excellence in the seemingly small things in life: God uses small assignments as tests to see if we are capable of handling bigger assignments.
As Elijah's last hours approached, he did not spend them on his knees, making peace with God. Nor did he spend them in quiet contemplation, cloistered away from daily activities. Rather, Elijah spent his last day faithfully fulfilling the assignments God had given him-going to Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho, and the Jordan River to encourage the prophets in training and to prepare his protege Elisha to take over his ministry.
Your home is just as good of a departure point for heaven as the Jordan River was for Elijah. Those who want to experience a life of significance value faithfulness in the small things of life until the moment they are caught up into heaven. To help test whether you are faithful in everyday activities, let me ask you some penetrating questions, you ought to ask yourself at the end of every day: Did I tell you and show my spouse and kids that I love them? Did I do my job honestly and to the best of my ability, giving my employer a full day's work? Did I demonstrate care and concern for my neighbors and my coworkers? Did I express gratitude for the blessings in my life? Did I take my anxieties to God and leave them with Him? Did I keep my heart, mind, and body pure, confessing my sins when I failed? Did I obey the Word of God? Did I put others before myself? Did I do to others what I would want them to do to me? Did I try to glorify God in my thoughts, words, and actions? These questions can be applied to any walk of life-whether you are the president of the United States, a home-maker, a salesperson, or a student.