Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”
Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me toJericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”
Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. II Kings 2:1-8 ESV
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. John 12:26 ESV
The story of Don Quixote is about a man in Spain long ago who had read many stories about knights and ladies and chivalry, and he wanted to be a knight too. Don Quixote started to believe he really was a knight, and he started traveling around and having adventures. He got his neighbor, a man named Sancho Panza, to follow him and act as his squire. One of Don Qixote’s first adventures was to attack some windmills, because he believed they were vicious giants. He went on to have other adventures, and wherever he went, Sancho Panza went with him. Sancho was fond of his neighbor and loyal to him. Even though following a person as strange as Don Quixote wasn’t always easy, Sancho Panza said that only a pick and shovel (that is, death) would separate the two of them.
Elisha had the same kind of loyalty to Elijah. Following a man who often made kings angry was not an easy thing to do, but Elisha was loyal to Elijah. He wouldn’t leave him no matter what. When Elijah’s work on earth was about to come to an end, something very unusual was going to happen. God was going to take Elijah directly to heaven without him having to die first. It was going to be an amazing sight. The sons of the prophets, men who were being taught and trained by Elijah, knew what was going to happen, and they tried to tell Elisha, but Elisha didn’t want to talk about it. Elijah kept telling Elisha to stay behind, but Elisha just wouldn’t leave. He was determined to stay with Elijah till the very end.
We have someone even more wonderful than Elijah to follow, and that is Jesus. It isn’t always easy to follow Jesus, but he’s given us life and love and peace with our heavenly Father, and we don’t want to leave him. We want to stay with him no matter what. Sometimes, though, the sin in our hearts and lives and the world around us tempt us to leave Jesus and go our own way. The wonderful thing is that, even though sometimes we start to leave Jesus, he promises never to leave us. We trust him to stay with us and to keep us close to him.
Dear Jesus, please stay with us and help us to follow you and never leave you. Amen.
Cervantes, Miguel D. Don Quixote, Spain: Francisco de Robles, 1605.