Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

Friendship – Day 6

Elijah and Elisha – mentoring friendship

Bible text(s)

The Call of Elisha

19Elijah left and found Elisha ploughing with a team of oxen; there were eleven teams ahead of him, and he was ploughing with the last one. Elijah took off his cloak and put it on Elisha.

1 Kings 19:19GNBOpen in Bible reader

You might remember this story – right after the triumphant moment of Elijah’s life, where he defeats the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, Queen Jezebel began killing the prophets of the Lord. She even threatened to kill Elijah.

Elijah flees in fear. He does not eat. He does not drink. He sleeps a lot. He wishes he were dead. Worst of all, he feels utterly alone. God bakes Elijah bread, gives him some water in a jar and most of all, the Lord gives Elijah words of encouragement.

“Get up,” the Lord says. “You’re not alone. There are hundreds just like you. They love me. Not everyone is evil. Not all is lost. In addition, I have sent you a friend. His name is Elisha and he shall be your companion.”

So began a legendary friendship – unique among the Old Testament prophets. God allowed Elijah to pass his mantle to Elisha, his successor. However, God did much more than that. You see, God not only gave Elijah a successor; He also introduced him to a close, personal friend. Elisha loved Elijah and understood him well enough to help and encourage him.

Sometimes the most valuable friendships are those outside our own age group. A close relationship with someone much older or much younger than us expands and enhances our lives. Older friends mentor us, as Elijah mentored Elisha. Time invested in a younger person gives us purpose for today and hope for tomorrow.

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