Elijah and Elisha – mentoring friendship

Xanthe Galanis

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.

1 Kings 19:19

You might remember this story - right after the most triumphant moment of Elijah’s life where he defeats the prophets of Baal on  Mount Carmel, Queen Jezebel began killing the prophets of the Lord. She even threatened to kill Elijah.

Elijah flees in fear. He doesn’t eat. He doesn’t drink. He sleeps a lot. He wishes he were dead. And worst of all, he feels utterly alone. God bakes Elijah bread, gives him some water in a jar, and most of all, the LORD gives Elijah words of encouragement.

“Get up,” the LORD says. “You’re not alone. There are hundreds just like you. They love me. Not everyone is evil. All is not lost. And I’ve sent you a friend. His name is Elisha, and he shall be your companion.”

And so began a legendary friendship - unique among the Old Testament prophets. God allowed Elijah to pass his mantle to Elisha, his successor. But God did much more than that. You see, God not only gave Elijah a successor; He also introduced him to a close, personal friend. Elisha loved Elijah, and understood him well enough to help and encourage him.

Sometimes the most valuable friendships are those outside our own age group. A close relationship with someone much older or much younger than us expands and enhances our lives. Older friends mentor us like Elijah mentored Elisha. Time invested in a younger person gives us purpose for today and hope for tomorrow. 

Prayer: Father, we can never thank you enough for the friends you have given us, especially for those who have affirmed and nurtured us, and cared enough to challenge and correct us. Make us sensitive to guide and guard each other’s hearts.