2 Kings 1-4
On our occasional visits to Disney World, I often think about the cruel irony of Walt never laying eyes on his biggest dream. He died just five years before the Magic Kingdom opened, just as they were breaking ground. While Disney was charismatic, passionate, creative, and a visionary, he surrounded himself with an entourage of like-minded people, so consequently, his dream did not die with him. By mentoring and empowering those who worked for him, he allowed their passion, creativity, and vision to fuse with his own, to accomplish even greater things than even he could imagine. In some manner of speaking, each one of the people around him each received the spirit of Disney, yet retained their own spirit, allowing them to benefit from both. This legacy has been passed down over and over again, and Disney has become one of the most innovative companies in film, television, and travel. Using a conversion that translates 1966 dollars to 2020, The Walt Disney Company is worth a hundredfold more today than it was 54 years ago, maybe even more than Walt, the greatest of the imagineers, could have ever dreamed.
While the opening today sounds like one of the final chapters of a leadership book, it is akin, albeit less significantly and definitely imperfectly, to the promises of Elijah and Jesus. Both not only spent a great deal of their time speaking with God, prophesying, and doing miracles, but both these men made specific investments in the people around them for God’s message to increase. Jesus surrounded himself with the disciples, and Elijah’s legacy is specific to Elisha. There is no doubt that these men’s examples made a profound impact on those who spent the most time with them (and yes, the example of Jesus is reverberating, impacting us today, but that’s the direction we’re heading). The momentum of Elijah or Jesus did not stop when they were taken to heaven. In fact, Elisha, and Peter, often thought of as the disciple Jesus was closest to, were recipients of faith-induced natural phenomena (2 Kings 3:17 ; Acts16:26). Additionally, both Peter and Elisha raised people from the dead (2 Kings 4:32-35; Acts 9::32-43). Years of watching, listening, and serving led to specific callings for each of these men to do bigger, bolder things than demonstrated by their predecessors (with exception to the propitiation of Christ). In fact, both Elijah and Jesus prophesied this to be so (2 Kings 2:10; John 14:12-14)
This begs the question: who are we bringing along on our faith journey? If we are effectively sharing the Gospel message, is there not someone who is receiving an exponential portion of whatever our faith has to offer? How can we extend our finite time on earth to impact the infinite time we will inherit in the kingdom of God? It may be as simple as sharing our faith with our family. As my children grow, I am alarmingly realizing the majority of their modeling and information is from my wife and me. Our ultimate goal is that their faith far exceeds our own, yet if we do not show the devotion, love, and belief we have, they will never receive even a single portion of it, much less build upon the faith we have. It could be we have served in ministry or occupation where we are now becoming the experienced one (this is also known as “old”). It is time to take someone under our wing, share our testimony and calling. By allowing someone to watch, listen, and serve, they can learn from our successes and failures without having to bear the consequences or responsibilities, ultimately placing them in a more successful position when they are on their own, long after our influence has left for one reason or another. Their trajectory is steeper, and at some point will outpace us.
Ultimately, we should be intentional about sharing our faith, vision (God-given), and resources (also, God-given) with our families or small circle of influence. Our greatest calling may be to prepare the way (Eli, Mordecai, and John the Baptist) for someone who will do more than we could possibly imagine because God will use them to exponentially grow his kingdom. Let’s make some significant investments. Let’s sow and tend the seeds. Let’s watch as God makes the return thirty, sixty, or even a hundredfold because the world is starving for His message. Let us pray and work to serve up bigger portions than ever.
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Kings+1-4&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s reading will be 2 Kings 5-8 as we continue on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan