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Passing the torch of Leadership I Kings 19:13-21

Eric A. Snyder, Minister

Farwell Church of Christ

October 14, 2001

Key Ideas: Involvement and Responsibility

When the 1996 Olympics were held in this country the torch started in Washington state. It was passed by relay runners through 46 states over a 15,000-mile trek until it arrived in Atlanta for the Centennial Games.

The torchbearer selection process was the most extensive search in the history, honoring extraordinary people who represent the Olympic ideals. The CEO of the games said

"Carrying the Olympic flame is a distinct honor that is bestowed on very special people who exemplify the ideals and spirit of the Olympic Games."

God is saying that

“Carrying the Eternal flame is a distinct honor that is bestowed on any person who has a desire to carry the spirit of Christ”

Setup: Elijah is coming away from an incredible spiritual victory. This should have been a time when he would have been on an emotional high. Excitement should have been raging. Adrenaline should have been pumping through his blood. But it wasn’t Elijah is experiencing depression.

You remember the story Elijah has challenged the false teachers in his day and he says we are going to see who is the one true God, He ascends the hill thinking that he is the only one left. And God works powerfully through His witness.

But now Elijah is depressed because he fears for his life, he is afraid and so he has escaped.

Now you are probably not afraid of losing your life in serving God But you may be afraid of being asked to serve and failing at it. That’s mostly like what Elijah felt like.

He felt like all the work he had done had little significance. Here is a man who has preached for the better part of his life and he feels that all his effort, all his time, all his energy was wasted and useless.

And I’ll bet he began to wonder if he had wasted his life.

To top things off he has no friends, he had given himself as a prophet to the lord and he was convinced that he was the only one left. He felt lonely, rejected, humiliated, despised and unappreciated.

People sometimes say to me. It must be discouraging to preach and then have no one come forward.

"Sir, when they told my we were having one of those professor types to preach our revival, I was not expecting to get much out of it. But may I say that for a Ph.D., you preach like a man with no education at all."

Someone once said to me after I had finished a sermon “you know in a with a few years and the grace of God you might actually become a good preacher”

What I would like to do this morning is this: Let’s look at this verse as it relates to you.

How do you feel when you try as hard as you can to get family or friends to make a right decision and they insist on doing their own thing?

How do you feel when you share a specific way that Jesus has helped you and can help them, then they pass it of as not viable or relevant?

How do you feel when you have worked on one of the hardest projects you have ever faced, then when it’s all over you discover that there is no Celebration, Congratulations or Cake.

How would you feel if you thought that nobody appreciated all your hard work and effort.

It can shatter your confidence and make you withdraw from society. That’s where Elijah is. He feels alone and worthless, Not qualified for the position of prophecy.

Prophecy is this: Sharing God’s truth

The reality is that everyone should be sharing God’s truth, But some of you are afraid, some of you are depressed, some of you are feeling worthless. Some of you don’t feel qualified. So wherever you are this morning I want to encourage you to step into Elijah’s shoes and look at the world through his eyes.

You are discouraged, in despair and deciding what your next move is.

I Kings 19:13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." 15 The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him." 19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. "Let me kiss my father and mother good-by," he said, "and then I will come with you." "Go back," Elijah replied. "What have I done to you?" 21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.

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