PASSING THE BATON (2 KINGS 2:9-11, 6:8-23)
There is no event in the track and field more absorbing, climatic and patriotic than the 4 x 100m race. The most dramatic losses for the competitive United States team in the history of 4 x 100m relays were in 2008.
First, the men’s race was going smoothly for the United States through the first two legs of the 400-meter relay preliminaries until Darvis Patton closed in on Tyson Gay. Gay reached backward, they couldn’t connect. Patton made a final lunge to get the stick to Gay before he ran out of the 20-meter passing zone, but as Gay’s hand closed, the stick wasn’t in it. It bounced off the rain-slickened track, and the crowd gasped. Gay said he felt the baton. "Then I went to grab it and there was nothing," he said.
Next, the U.S. women were also in good shape heading into the final exchange, but Lauryn Williams didn’t receive the baton from Torri Edwards. It fell to the ground as Edwards yelled and covered her face with her hands. Williams went down in history as the American involved in not one but two faulty Olympic exchanges that cost her team medals. Four years earlier, she misconnected with Marion Jones in the final and the Americans were disqualified for making the exchange outside the 20-meter handoff zone. "U.S. 4x100m Teams Both Drop Batons" http://www.nbcolympics.com/trackandfield/news/newsid=243415.html
No matter how talented, trustworthy and treasured the leaders of a generation are, the baton has to change hands one day. The old has to give way to the young. Prime time becomes past time in no time. It’s the circle of cycle. The Chinese say, "The back waves push the front waves in the ocean."
Elijah was more than happy to pass the ministry baton and the hot potato to Elisha, who was more than happy to catch the pass. While it was not easy to follow in the footsteps of a spiritual giant and powerhouse like Elijah, Elisha did the impossible and an impeccable job, especially on how he treated the Israelites, his servants and the Arameans.
How does one follow in the footsteps of a leader and a legend? Is there room to improve at the top? What does God expect of believers learning to serve and succeed in ministry?
Better Yourself by Breaking Barriers
8 Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, "I will set up my camp in such and such a place." 9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: "Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there." 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places. 11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, "Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?" 12 "None of us, my lord the king," said one of his officers, "but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom." (2 Kings 6:8-12)
Peanuts’ Lucy asked, "Charlie Brown, life is like a deck chair on a cruise ship. Passengers open up these canvas deck chairs so they can sit in the sun. Some people place their chairs facing the rear of the ship so they can see where they’ve been. Other people face their chairs forward - they want to see where they’re going. On the cruise ship of life, which way is your deck chair facing?’
Charlie replies, "I’ve never been able to get one unfolded."
Do you live life clinging to a negative "Life is hard" motto or mantra?
I have put together some interesting "Live is hard" quotations from the web:
"Life is hard, choices make it harder."
"Life is hard, so wear a helmet."
"Life is hard, but that’s no excuse."
"Most of life is hard, but not all of it."
"Life is hard but you make it harder."
"Life is hard, but harder for some more than others."
"Life is hard, but compared to what?"
Oswald Sanders was right when he said, "The world is run by tired men."
In 1 Kings 19, the depressed Elijah feared for his life (1 Kings 19:3), fled to the desert (1 Kings 19:4), prayed for instant death (1 Kings 19:4) and retired into a cave (1 Kings 19:9). The determined Elisha, on the other hand, survived and thrived despite asking for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kings 2:9) and doubling his scope of ministry in the process. His ministry overlapped the geographical barrier, crossed the dynasty barrier, and broke the race barrier.