“And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” 2 Kings 2:9
This weekend our family laid a dear man to rest. We mourned the loss of a friend, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, yet, at the same time rejoiced over the home-going of one of God’s children. I was privileged to get to join in the celebration of a life lived serving God.
I listened as the pastor who preached the funeral spoke to the family about passing along a mantle, just as Elijah had done when he was taken up into Heaven.( 2 Kings 2 ) It was such a touching moment as the pastor passed out gifts to the children and grandchildren of items that had belonged to their father and grandfather. He then charged them to carry on the mantel of this dear man just as Elisha had done for Elijah.
In the story of Elijah and Elisha, this mantle was a physical piece of clothing that was sent down from Heaven to Elisha after God had taken up Elijah. Elisha had asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit to be passed onto him when he was gone. This mantle, or cloak that fell from Heaven was meant to be a symbol of the wisdom and the leadership that was being passed down from one man to the other.
As I sat in the service and observed all that was taking place, God began to speak to my heart. We all carry a mantle. However, the mantle of which I speak today is not a physical covering. I am talking about a legacy, the part of you that will remain in the hearts of those still here when you have passed from this life into the next, the part of you that will be remembered and passed along to the generations that follow.
My question for you today is this: What kind of mantle will you leave for your children?
What kind of legacy will you leave behind? You may be thinking that it does not matter, that no one is really watching what you do or say. You may think that the way you live your life does not affect anyone but yourself. I am here, today, to tell you that whether you realize it or not, you are passing along a mantel, a legacy, to those around you.
Sure, you will be remembered by how hard you worked, by how much money you had, or by how much land you possessed, but what I am talking about this morning goes much deeper than the physical and monetary possessions you leave behind. This morning I want us to focus on the spiritual mantel that we carry. Every thing we do and every thing we say adds to or takes away from our mantel. It is up to us to make sure that we are creating a Godly mantel that our children can hold onto, and can pass along to the generations that follow.
You see, Elisha had spent many days following Elijah and learning from him. Elisha knew that when Elijah was gone from him that he would need something to hold onto. Elisha wanted to make sure that he could carry on the legacy that Elijah had started. God sent down Elijah’s mantle as a symbol for Elisha to carry with him as he continued what Elijah had started.
I want to encourage you today. Take the time to examine your life, look at your mantle. Is it thin and frail, full of holes where you have neglected your relationship with God? Is it thick and strong, something that your children can hold onto when you are gone? Is it something that they can learn from and joyfully pass along?
Only you can answer that question. If in examining your life today, you realize that your mantle lacks something, you have been blessed with an opportunity to change that. You have been blessed with another day. Seek God right now, ask Him to help you. Allow Him to strengthen your mantle. Then you will have something strong and powerful to pass along to those around you when you are gone.