Daily Worship

Passing on the baton

February 13, 2021 6
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2 Kings 2: 1-12 (GNT)

1 The time came for the Lord to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elijah and Elisha set out from Gilgal, 2 and on the way Elijah said to Elisha, “Now stay here; the Lord has ordered me to go to Bethel.”

But Elisha answered, “I swear by my loyalty to the living Lord and to you that I will not leave you.” So they went on to Bethel.

3 A group of prophets who lived there went to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” Elisha answered. “But let's not talk about it.”

4 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Now stay here; the Lord has ordered me to go to Jericho.”

But Elisha answered, “I swear by my loyalty to the living Lord and to you that I will not leave you.” So they went on to Jericho.

5 A group of prophets who lived there went to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” Elisha answered. “But let's not talk about it.”

6 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Now stay here; the Lord has ordered me to go to the Jordan River.”

But Elisha answered, “I swear by my loyalty to the living Lord and to you that I will not leave you.” So they went on, 7 and fifty of the prophets followed them to the Jordan. Elijah and Elisha stopped by the river, and the fifty prophets stood a short distance away. 8 Then Elijah took off his cloak, rolled it up, and struck the water with it; the water divided, and he and Elisha crossed to the other side on dry ground. 9 There, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what you want me to do for you before I am taken away.”

“Let me receive the share of your power that will make me your successor,” Elisha answered.

10 “That is a difficult request to grant,” Elijah replied. “But you will receive it if you see me as I am being taken away from you; if you don't see me, you won't receive it.”

11 They kept talking as they walked on; then suddenly a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire came between them, and Elijah was taken up to heaven by a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw it and cried out to Elijah, “My father, my father! Mighty defender of Israel! You are gone!” And he never saw Elijah again.

In grief Elisha tore his cloak in two.

There comes a time when we have to pass on the reins. Alex Ferguson had to do it as manager of Manchester United. Successive managers at my beloved Liverpool FC have done the same. Ministers and Elders in the Church need to know when it is time to pass on the baton of faith. It comes to us all.

There is a sadness, of course there is. We remember Church and the good times we have had in the past and the temptation is to view everything with rose-tinted spectacles and perhaps hold on for longer than we should. In a more personal way we also remember family times and all that we have shared over the years and it is not easy to grow old and know that life here on earth is limited. But we will all one day be called home. The Kingdom does not rest on us but on God. We are necessary partners with him but with the faithful down through the centuries we are part of his marvellous Kingdom jigsaw, all the pieces making up the whole picture. One day all will be complete. In the meantime we carry on faithfully until it is our time to pass on the baton.

PRAYER:

Loving God, we thank you that there is nothing, nothing in all creation, that can ever separate us from your love in Jesus Christ our Lord. We thank you that you have called us to carry out different ministries that belong to all of your people, for all you have enabled us to do and still enable us to do. We thank you for cherished memories we have of life with family and friends down through the years, always in our hearts. And we thank you for your Kingdom that stands and grows and for that place of rest where Jesus has prepared a room for each one of us. Bring your peace, such as the world cannot give, to those who are bereaved. And keep us in your joyful service day by day until it is our time to pass on the baton of faith. Amen.