“Passing On and Picking up the Mantles of Ministry”
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14; Galatians 5: 1, 13-25; Luke 9: 51-62
Pearl: Passing along and picking up mission and ministry assignments.
Function: To motivate worshippers to actively engage their discipleship by receiving and passing along ministry and mission assignments.
In my mind’s eye I can picture the relationship between the great Old Testament prophet Elijah and his protégé, Elisha. They came together as one day Elijah was walking along and he saw Elisha plowing a field. He threw his mantle around Elisha and invited him to follow him and join him in ministry.
- Interestingly enough Elisha agreed but asked to first go and bid his family goodbye. It reminds you of Jesus scolding would-be followers for asking to do the same thing. But Elijah allowed it, waiting for him to join him.
two prophets enjoyed many ministry exploits together.
- Elisha learned from Elijah.
- They formed a deep love for each other.
- They also enjoyed a deep love for God and were dedicated to serving him in calling his people to God’s way.
first time I preached on this relationship between Elijah and Elisha was at my
first congregation. It was in 1992. Ironically one of my own Elijah-figures,
Bruce Thielemann, attended worship that day to hear me preach. I’ve spoken
before about his influence on me as I took up the mantle of ministry.
- He was our college chaplain. I and so many of my peers admired him for his powerful preaching abilities. He was in every way an appropriate Elijah figure. We were all his “company of prophets” who were greatly impacted by his ministry.
- He said he did not have the gift of “discerning spirits” which would allow him to know who was being called by God into the vocation of ministry. But every one of us who had our own inkling determined to be under his wing and wanted him to pass along his mantle so that we might catch even a chunk of his spirit let alone a “double portion.”
Bruce left the service that day when he listened to me preach he held up a
number as Olympic judges held up scores in a by-gone day: 8.9 was the score he
- I read that sermon in preparation for
today’s message…I wrote a new message for today, as is the case for most
sermons previously written.
- They always need work because I have moved on in my journey of life as a follower of Christ.
- I think this is the way it should be. We do not stop growing. We do not stop moving.
- Bruce died about a year and a half later leaving many young protégés, colleagues, and all of those across the nation who listened to his powerful sermons, missing him deeply.
- I read that sermon in preparation for today’s message…I wrote a new message for today, as is the case for most sermons previously written.
Elijah did have the gift of discerning spirits because he specifically threw
his mantle around young Elisha and invited him to join him.
- It sounds a little like when Jesus went forth calling his first disciples. He found many of them fishing and asked them to leave their nets to follow him.
- He saw Matthew in his tax office and “threw his mantle around him” inviting him to join him as well.
it might look something like you putting your arm around another person and
asking them to join you in your ministry or mission endeavors.
- It is a modern way of “throwing your mantle around another.”
It is important in your life as a follower of Christ to keep things fresh by continually passing on and picking up ministry and mission assignments.
What mantle are you wearing as a follower of Christ?
I look across this sanctuary I see your mantles.
- I see mantles of Deacons, Trustees, and Elders.
see teachers, musicians, helpers, and so many devoted disciples.
- I missed the first three days of “Rolling River Rampage” this past week but arrived in time to float around and observe all of the various stations on Wednesday night at VBS.
- I really enjoyed doing that because it gave me an opportunity to see many of you in action which I usually do not see. I am usually doing my own teaching, leading, and such that I don’t get to observe you.
- It was so refreshing. You are such excellent teachers and leaders. I learned from you on Wednesday night. I took over for Lorri Norris in the Bible Story segment for the last night but I loved seeing her in her own style with the children.
- We were blessed to have 24 teenagers who took on roles as leaders all throughout VBS including Seth and Lydia Jones, and Emmet Coomes. They took on the “mantle of ministry” by their participation.
- This is happening all of the time in the life of the church; people are always passing on mantles of ministry and picking up mantles of ministry.
are you preparing to pass on your mantle to someone else?
- I am not saying that it is time for you to move on. I am saying that in the course of your ministry you should always be putting your arm around others and inviting them to join you in your ministry.
am very excited personally, that we are doing this with young Christopher
Parks, who by the way is visiting his grandparents in Georgia and why we are
not seeing him in worship lately. He will be joining us on the Porcupine
- We will also be doing this with Steele Glenn who will be an intern here at Highland starting in the fall.
- Ministry is always meant to be a partnership. It is not a solo activity. We are partners with God and we are partners with each other.
As followers of Christ keep things fresh!
What mantle of ministry or mission are you interested in picking up?
there a new ministry or program or project that is capturing your imagination?
- New opportunities are coming along. You will be hearing about them. Opportunities for more congregational fellowship and stewardship.
are always going out. Accept one. Take on something new. Keep moving. Keep
- Elijah and Elisha kept things fresh. Another similar disciple was St. Jerome. He was fond of saying, “Solvitur ambulando.” To solve a problem, walk around. Walk until your shoe leather falls off, until no more skin patch in the world can save the tattered remnants of your heels—only walk, walk as only a human can until the mysteries of the ages unravel before you. We were made to wander afoot, and to keep moving. When we settle down, it seems, we tend as a species to become nastier rather than more civilized. Idle feet, it turns out, are the devil’s real workshop.
- By staying fresh in the spirit of God you will bear fruits. You will bear the beautiful fruits of the spirit which Paul wrote about: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, generosity, self-control.
you work to keep things fresh always be ready to take on that new ministry or
mission that is energizing your mind, your spirit, and your heart.
- What is actually happening is that your Lord Jesus Christ is putting his arm around you and inviting you to join him in the work of his kingdom.
How will you fulfill your ministry and mission assignments? Ask God for a double portion of the Holy Spirit! Why not? Go for it. Any portion of God’s Spirit will due but why not ask for a double dose?
- A woman was walking on the beach in southern California when she spied a bottle which had washed up on shore. Picking it up, she had no sooner begun to examine it when a genie floated from its open end and appeared before her.
“I am so glad you let me out of here,” he said gratefully. “I’d like to grant you any wish you might have. But I am a bit rusty, you know. I’d like to give you three, but I’ll have to limit myself to one. What can I do for you?”
The astonished woman collected her wits and then paused for a moment of thought. “I’ve always wanted a vacation in Hawaii, but since I am afraid to fly, and get seasick on ships, I have never been able to go. Now if you could build me a highway from L.A. to Honolulu, I could drive over and have the vacation of my dreams.”
The genie, too, was thoughtful and somewhat frustrated. “Ma’am, do you know what you’re asking? Putting a highway in over the Pacific Ocean would require incredible engineering. Do you have any idea of the problem of setting caissons and pilings in these kinds of waters and in this kind of depth? I’d like to help you, but maybe you’d better ask for something else.”
The woman nodded sympathetically. “Well,” she said. “I wanted to vacation with my husband. I think it would be good for the two of us. We’ve been married for 20 years, and I still don’t understand him. I’ve read the books, attended seminars, and just when I think I have him figured out, he does something so unexpected and I am back to square one. What makes him so competitive and distant? What makes men so controlling and arrogant? My wish is that I would like to have a complete understanding of my husband.”
A moment of silence passed between the two of them. Then the genie said, “Would that be a two-lane or a four-lane highway to Hawaii?”
- When it comes to fulfilling our ministry
assignments as followers of Christ, God asks us, “What do you want me to do for
- Elijah asked Elisha, “What do you want me to do for you?”
- Elisha responded, “Give me a double portion of your spirit.”
- I remember my early mentor Bruce saying more than
once that he was glad that he was not entering the ministry at the time that we
in his “company of prophets” were entering the ministry.
- I thought it was cynical of him. He struggled with depression throughout his distinguished career.
- I thought then and I still say now; “Ask God for a double portion of the Holy Spirit.” That is how you can fulfill your unique ministry and mission.
- This is how you keep things fresh.
The life with Christ is a beautiful and great adventure as you continually invite others to join you in your ministries and as you also pick up new, fresh assignments.
You can do it, in the power of the Spirit!