Winning. A word that brings a smile to your face. You may even exhale when you think of yourself living out this word. Winning. The moment of ultimate satisfaction. The moment you have been waiting for. The time where all the blood, sweat, and tears, has finally paid off. That’s right you did it!
But wait just a minute…before we get to far off into the finish line let’s backtrack really quickly. How did you get there? How long did it take you?
There’s a saying that goes something like “you gotta pay the cost, to be the boss.” As cheesy as that may sound I believe there is a ring of truth to it. There is a cost for every win. Today I want to talk about one in particular. Let’s look at our friend Elisha in the book of II Kings Chapter 2.
To give you a bit of background the prophet Elijah had a mentee that was on the road with him for several years. During this time Elisha served Elijah while being his understudy. During this time Elisha learned all about the the work that Elijah did as a prophet. He traveled with him and Elijah became like a father to him. Elijah introduced Elisha to what his destiny could be by placing his mantle over him when they first met.
When Elijah placed his cloak over Elisha it was a sign that he was passing his ministry on to him. Not at the present moment but over time, if he chose to answer the “call” over his life.
Elisha does in fact answer the “call” over his life, but his ministry does not happen instantly. In fact it takes several years for it to manifest.
After those several years have gone by, there was a day that was different from all the other days previously. On this day everyone knew that Elijah's time on earth is getting ready to come to an end. God has been giving the sons of the prophets and Elisha himself the foresight to know this information. So before the prophet Elijah is getting ready to be taken up by a whirlwind into heaven by the LORD he bids (asks, suggests) that Elisha stay behind as he ventures off to some of the last places that the LORD has commanded him to go. Elisha refuses to leave Elijah behind, although he is presented with several opportunities to do so. Instead he sticks to Elijah’s side saying “ As the LORD lives and as your soul lives I shall not leave you.”
Elisha makes it very clear that as long as his mentor is alive he will not leave his side. But why is this so important? Why does it matter?
In order to understand why it matters we have to take a look at what happens next.
In II Kings 2:9-10 we see this exchange between the two of them:
9 And when they had gone over, Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you. And Elisha said, I pray you, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me. 10 He said, You have asked a hard thing. However, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you–but if not, it shall not be so.
This exchange lets us know that if Elisha truly wants to receive his double portion blessing he will have to stick it out to the very end with Elijah.
Now let's pause for just a moment.
Had Elisha allowed himself to be persuaded by the advise of the sons of the prophets and Elijah himself, I think it is safe to say that this dialogue would have never taken place. That's right, if he had stayed behind he never would have been presented with the opportunity to ask his mentor for what it was his heart truly desired. I want to really stress this point because it seemed like the logical thing to do. Especially since everyone kept advising him to stay behind. But Elisha knew something in his heart. Which was if he stayed behind the thing that he had been working for all of these years would not manifest. He knew how close he was and he refused to let go.
Yes, Elisha was being tested. What I love is that he actually passed the test and he does in fact receive his double portion. Elisha goes on to perform more miracles than his mentor Elijah.
It is important to understand how significant Elisha's decision to press on despite all the advise he was received from everyone around him. Normally when we are getting ready to complete something that has taken years, or are getting to the final part of a test we just want to hurry up and get it over with. Had Elijah had the same mentality he would have completely missed the gift that God had waiting for him on the other side. Oh sure, he would have still been a prophet and a good one. But he never would have gotten that double portion blessing.
Now you may be wondering how you can stick out your test to the very end. Here are 3 ways to ensure that you do not give up before you receive what it is that your heart desires.
·Silence your distractions- This goes for activities AND people that try to distract you from reaching your goal. Who and what are you giving your attention to? Are they helping you reach your goal or distracting you from it? Analyze your daily activities and conversations and then evaluate what is helping you and what is hindering you.
· The Power Of Your No- Once you are able to see what activities or interactions that you have going on in your life, it’s time to exercise the power of your no. There is power in what you choose to say no to just like there is power in what you choose to say yes to. When we can learn to say no to our hinderances we begin to grow more and more confident in WHY we are saying no. Our calling deserves our yes, and everything that pulls us away from it should receive a stern no.
· Unwavering Dedication- Now that we have grown confident in our “No” it has become easy to be more focused on our ultimate goal. But even when we are focused there are some things that come our way that seem like harmless interactions or pitstops. For Elisha it was his mentor himself asking him to stay behind while he went up to handle his last “assignments” given to him by God. Now it’s safe to say that his could have been a bit confusing that the very person who placed his mantle over you is now asking you to stay behind and miss what is next. A person who was not as dedicated as Elisha may actually stay behind following their mentor’s advice, but Elisha had a choice to make. He could either stay back and miss what was next knowing that he was nearing the end of his mentorship, or press on despite the constant encouragement to do so.
When we can master the above steps it will be so much easier for us to make it to the place that we desire. We must learn that even harmless distractions could cause us to deviate from the very thing that we have been working so very hard for. I hope the above tips will help you to stick to the course that you are on, no matter how long or un-motivating it may seem at the moment.