Passing on the Mantle
So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. 1 Kings 19:19
“God of the prophets, bless the prophets’ sons;
Elijah’s mantle o’er Elisha cast.” (LSB 682:1)
With these beautiful words that have been sung for generations at ordinations and installations, pastors and congregations have been praying that the Lord would work through the service of a pastor to lead more sons into the Office of the Holy Ministry. Elijah went from his despair in the wilderness to Mount Horeb, where the Lord instructed him to anoint Elisha as prophet. Down from the mountain, Elijah went and found the young man and cast his mantle on him, identifying him to be his successor.
Each day, pastors, teachers and other called workers interact with young people. From catechism class to choir practice, there is frequent contact with faithful and gifted young people. The Lord has promised to provide laborers for His vineyard. One of the ways that He does that is through the encouragement of church workers to the younger generations to consider the mobile and joyful task of service in Christ’s name. On whom are you casting your mantle? For whom are you praying that they would consider church work vocations? Elijah went straight to find Elisha after coming down from the mountain.
Perhaps it is a time for a van load of young people to visit one of our universities or for church workers to encourage parents that a young person should attend a church work vocations weekend at one of our seminaries or just for a church worker to talk to a child or teenager about being a servant in the church. Like Elijah, there are challenges for those who serve the Lord, but our gracious God also does not leave us alone, but surrounds us with others, who cast the mantle of leadership onto us and future generations to whom we will also pass it on as they serve.
Prayer – Gracious Father, in Your mercy You call faithful men and women to serve in Your Church and grant them the gifts of Your Spirit to strengthen and sustain them. Fill them with wisdom and patience, and with love and faithfulness to Your Word, that with gladness they may teach, comfort, counsel and guide Your people in the way to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan