Daily Devotionals

Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

Devotional: January 19th

The Mantle

A number of years ago I quit watching the National Basketball Association. I quit for a several reasons. I felt the quality of play was declining. There were too many dunks and way too many jump shot contests. A friend of mine took umbrage with that and said it was exciting. I countered with the fact that, for a person to get free for a dunk in a half court offense, someone had to blow a defensive coverage. Same with a lot of open jump shots.

Evidently I am not alone. "This is the worst basketball being played since I can remember, and it's not becacuse I'm an old guy." Those are the words of Charles Barkley, the "Round Mound of Rebound", who, at barely 6'4" (listed at 6'6"), was one of the NBA's premier rebounders due to knowing how to play the game. He continued. "The game is suffering. They don't know how to play.

This past week I got to rub shoulders with a group of preachers. Some of them were older than me, and after starting my thirty-fourth year in ministry, that's saying a lot. They, too, were concerned about the younger guys who are coming out of college with high financial expectations and dreams of glory. The turnover rate among younger preachers/youth ministers is alarming. One young man remarked, "I just don't have the patience to have to put up with it (the problems of the ministry)."

Elijah was the prophet of God. Late in his ministry for the Lord he acquired a young protege named Elisha. Elisha learned much from Elijah. He drew from the "old school" guy and accepted the teaching willingly. When it came time for Elijah to "die" Elisha made a strange request. He asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit, which he received because he saw Elijah as the old prophet was taken from him. He received something else as well.

"He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan." 2 Kings 2:13 The mantle, a loose fitting sleeveless cloak, symbolized the passing of the spirit of Elijah to Elisha. Elisha wanted to "wear the mantle" of Elijah. Perhaps that is what the kingdom of God needs today. We need some Elishas who understand that it's not about them, it's about what God can do through them.

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