In the Bible, the mantle in the literal sense was a cloak. But symbolically it was so much more; it stood for the passing of the prophetic torch or leadership position. The mantle was a big responsibility and was not to be taken lightly. In a book entitled, Mantle of Leadership, Fred White describes the mantle as a special endowment of the Holy Spirit. One that gives kingdom leaders an advantage over other leaders, because it involved a radical change in their thinking which only came through a close relationship with the Holy Spirit. Those who carry the mantle continually renew their minds to spiritual truths.
In Elisha’s case, God’s power accompanied it. Elisha asked for and received a double share of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kings 2:9, ESV). God granted it because his motives were pure. He did not selfishly ask for his gain, or to be greedy, but to do more for God. We too can ask for remarkable things but should examine our motives to make sure they are pure. If they are, we do not need to be afraid to ask. Perhaps, Elisha also knew his weaknesses and recognized that his need for the Spirit’s power and courage was greater than Elijah’s. This was not something Elijah could grant, only God could and did (2 Kings 2:10-15).
Can you imagine the responsibility of taking over for Elijah? A devout prophet who prayed fervently (James 5:17) and believed in the power of God to deliver. He left big shoes to fill. But with God’s help, Elisha took on the responsibility and believed in the power of God, and God performed great miracles through him. One of the most memorable happened after Elisha was already dead. You may remember the story of a man who was revived after being thrown into Elisha’s grave and touched his bones (2 Kings 13:21). This proves that the power was of God. Elisha nor anyone else can take credit for it. These divine designations are not only found in the OT, but another example that is relevant in the NT is when Paul summons Timothy to accept the mantle of leadership, following his example, and his life of ministry, that he patterned after Christ. (2 Timothy 4:1-5, NLT). As Jesus explained to His disciples, the mantle of Christian leadership is the garb of a servant; as He came not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45, NLT).
We too can accept the mantle of leadership God is calling us into today. God supplies all the tools we need; we must be willing to go where He leads us and not be afraid to get our hands dirty, as God tills the ground for us to plant the seeds. When we listen and are obedient to the Word of God, we can pray fervently with passion, asking for great things in bold confidence and faith, trusting God to provide, while allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us. He holds the power, but through a relationship with the Holy Spirit, we can tap into that power to do the work set before us in the mighty name of Christ Jesus. Allow God to work in and through you in the coming year. Believe in the power of prayer and trust God with your dreams.
“So, neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (I Cor. 3:7).