by Alan Stewart
I recall reading some very interesting facts: Napoleon's toothbrush sold for $21,000; Adolph Hitler's car sold for $150,000; Jackie Kennedy's fake pearls sold for $211,500; John Kennedy had a wooden set of golf clubs that sold for $772,500. None of these things were greatly valuable in and of themselves, but it was simply who they had belonged to.
With that thought in mind, I cannot help but be reminded of two visionaries in Scripture: Elijah and Elisha. Elijah was the great mentor and Elisha his observant understudy. The two met while Elisha was hard at work plowing his father's field when suddenly a mantle was dropped over him. That mantle became symbolic of his prophetic calling and God's presence with him. Elijah took the mantle back, but Elisha never took his gaze off of it. Would there ever be a day it would be "officially" his? When the time came, would he have the courage to pick it up?
Certainly, his moment came and the mantle became not only symbolic of his prophetic calling and God's presence, but it was an emblem of God's trust. Standing by the River Jordan that day were at least 50 other prophets of God. What was it about Elisha that God found more trustworthy than the others to be His mantle-bearer?
First of all, God saw his determination. Three times, Elijah discouraged Elisha from accompanying him, but he persevered. How badly do you want the mantle of God? He very well may send obstacles to test our worthiness to bear it, simply because when God blesses a life with His mantle, it is intended to be carried for the long haul. God's mantles are not for temporary use.
Secondly, God saw his devotion. It is interesting that the other 50 prophets chose to "view afar off," but Elisha stayed right by the side of his master. The secret to being a mantle-bearer is staying close. I wonder, as the mantle fell to the ground that day, how many would have loved to touch, smell, possess it? But now Jordan stood between them and the blessing they wanted. Standing "afar off" always has a price. There was no second mantle dropped.
Thirdly, God saw his desires. When Elijah asked Elisha to tell him what he wanted him to do for him before he departed, Elisha could have asked for many things, but he simply wanted to be a mantle bearer for God. Had most of us picked up the mantle, we would have called a press conference, put it in a shrine, and sold tickets for people to come and see it. The mantle of God is never meant to be worshiped-it's to be worn! A life that God honors with a mantle is a life that honors God by displaying it. His mantles never fade nor get threadbare. They are "made" to be passed on.
So, you want to be a mantle-bearer? What is your "Jordan" standing in the way? Not everyone who desires God's mantle knows what to do with it. Solomon had the mantle of wisdom, but he cast it off in the end. Not everyone who views the mantle will sacrifice enough to get to it. It cannot be bought. It cannot be bartered for. It is God's token of trust.
Somewhere in each of our lives there is a place and a time that God has a mantle waiting for us. For most, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Which side of Jordan will we be standing on when the time comes? Will we have the courage to pick up the mantle?
Elisha desired the mantle, and God entrusted it to him as a legacy. Now others desired what he had. What do you have that others would desire? Before we can pass on a mantle, we must obtain it!
By the way, just how much would your mantle bring?
Alan Stewart pastors
Rechoboth Baptist Church
in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee