Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

 Discipleship: Calling for Christ Experience

2 Kings 2: 1-5
“As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.”

Let me wish you all a blessed Father's Day. It is an honor and privilege to be a father and a responsibility that Lord has entrusted us.

You have probably heard the real-life Olympic incident with Derek Anthony Redmond, the British sprinter. During his career, Derek held many British, World, and European Championship records in the 400 meters sprint. At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Redmond tore his hamstring in the 400 meters semi-final but continued the race limping and, with assistance from his father, managed to complete a full lap of the track as the 65,000 strong crowd gave him a standing ovation. Although Redmond was disqualified and listed as "Did Not Finish" due to the outside assistance finishing the race, the incident has become a well-remembered moment in Olympic history. Derek will be greatly remembered and taught as a high stature example of “staying the course” even during adverse and extreme situations. This story has become theme of many Fathers’ Day videos and & "Celebrate Humanity" videos of International Olympics Committee itself. One of the Olympics promotion videos narrates, “he and his father finished dead last, but he and his father finished". Awesome situational courage, isn’t it?

Looking at our bible passage; Yahweh, in His holy will, enlightened Elijah. He was given empirical understanding upon the end of his life. The set time where Elijah is to be rested and pass the mantle to Elisha has arrived. This is the context of 2 Kings Chapter 2. God decided to take Elijah up to heaven, making Elijah the only other person in the Bible who was taken directly to heaven after Enoch. They were both spared the pains of death, pains which even the Son of Man was subjected to in its most excruciating form. 

Elijah knew the end for him had come, Elisha knew his master was going to leave soon, and the company of prophets knew Elijah was going to be taken away from Elisha. Elijah wanted Elisha to stay back at Gilgal while he crosses over to eternal life but Elisha refuses. Then Elijah asks Elisha to stay back at Bethel, the House of God, Elisha refuses once more. Then Elijah asks Elisha to stay back at Jericho while he alone crosses the wall to eternity, Elisha refuses the third time. As for why Elijah wanted Elisha to stay back, we do not have a clear answer. We can, however, derive a greater understanding from Elisha’s subsequent responses for each occurrence (at Gilgal, at Bethel, and at Jericho). Elisha’s response each time was: “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.”

Elisha’s response teaches us an important lesson, to “Stay put” or “Stay the course.” 
Was it easy for Elisha to disobey and refuse Elijah? Certainly not. However, Elisha had the wisdom and mentorship from Elijah to withstand such trials. This raises the question, was Elijah testing Elisha? Perhaps, Elijah was assessing his protégé— and successor— one final time. And Elisha passes this test with flying colors. Divine wisdom is beyond human comprehension, yet here Elisha stays the course, and at the end seeks a double portion of the spirit to fulfill his prophetic role as Elijah’s successor.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ also underwent trials in physically weakened moments towards the end of forty days in the wilderness, yet we see the emphatic, energetic, refusal and reprimanding of Satan. The Son of Man taught us to “stay put” to ensure God the Father’s mission and ministry is carried out. Thus, let us also seek divine wisdom and boldly stay the course to fulfill His divine plan.

Father God, give us your wisdom, grace, and blessings to sustain the pressures of this world and stay the course; help us to be used as your vessels for the extension of your kingdom. Amen.
Monish K John
Chicago Mar Thoma Church

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