Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A Servant and a Prophet

In keeping with the pattern of the prophets, it's not long after the widow receives a miracle in the blessing of the ingredients that her son, her only son, dies and she turns to the prophet in anguish.

In this case, Elisha's servant runs ahead of him and reaches the boy before the prophet does, following precise instructions precisely one time to revive the boy...and failing. By the time Elisha arrives, his servant has a report: I did what you told me to do, but it didn't work; the boy is truly dead.

But then, Elisha himself tries to revive the boy. And that doesn't work, either. 

But then, Elisha tries again. Until it does work. 

And that is the difference between mission and truth. 

The servant only had the mission in him - go and revive the boy. Follow these precise steps in pursuit of this precise outcome. Do this very thing in the hopes of achieving this certain thing. He was on a mission, following orders, and when it didn't work, well, it didn't work. Because all he had in him was what he was supposed to do; all of the "facts" were outside of him. And the fact was that the boy was dead. 

The prophet, on the other hand, had the truth in him - this boy will not die. He's not dead. He might be dead right now, but he's not really dead. The prophet saw more than the situation showed him, and so he was able to persist and to keep on in the face of what seemed like "facts" because he had truth in his heart - this boy would live. It was such a real, powerful, vital truth for Elisha that he could already see it. 

It's a question for all of us to keep in mind when we pursue the things the Lord calls us and sends us to do in the world. Do we have in our hearts just a mission? Just something we're supposed to "do," a plan to follow? Or do we have in our hearts a truth, an ability to see beyond what is right before our eyes and to know something that doesn't seem possible to know right now?

Do you see what you see or do you see what God sees?

The answer to this question will change the way we engage the world. If you only have a mission, then you go and do and whatever happens, happens. However it turns out is how it turns out. You tried...once. You see no point in trying again. You did it. It's over. It either "worked" or it didn't. 

But if you have a truth, you'll keep at it. You'll pursue it. You'll try again and again and again, go harder and longer and faster until what you know is true becomes real right before your very eyes. Until God does the thing God has shown you God will do, God is doing. Until the so-called dead boy lives. You'll persist because you already have your eyes on what you cannot yet see, and you know that it's real and powerful and vital. It's truth. 

So the question again - do you see what you see or do you see what God sees? Are you a servant or a prophet? Do you have a mission or do you have truth? 

How does that impact what you're doing and how you're doing it?

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