Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. (1 Kings 19:16)
As I stood there in front of pictures of the ministers preceding me at the historic church to which I’d been called, I felt inadequate. Those men had square jaws, penetrating stares, and were wearing impressive robes. I wonder if Elisha felt a bit inadequate his last day with Elijah. The prophets kept telling him Elijah was going away, and he kept shouting back, “Don’t talk to me about it!” It is hard to follow someone who seems larger than life.
About seven years earlier Elisha had been plowing his family’s field with a team of oxen, when Elijah walked up and called him to follow. In the intervening years, Elisha had watched and absorbed as much as he could from this man of God. Too soon, however, the day for Elijah’s departure arrived. Elisha begged for and received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elisha went on to a multi-decade ministry that, while different from Elijah’s, was nonetheless effective. He was able to put down the Baal worship that Elijah could not.
We may feel inadequate, especially following a person who’s had great successes. The apostle Peter suggests that we look at it differently: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). Is it our ability or his we are depending upon?
When the task seems too much, Lord, direct my attention back to you.