Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. 1 Kings 19:19.
We would do well to consider the case of Elisha when chosen for his work. The prophet Elijah was about to close his earthly labors. Another was to be called to carry forward the work for that time. In his course of travel, Elijah was directed northward. How changed the scene before him now from that which the country had presented a little while before. Then the farming districts were unworked; the ground was parched, for neither dew nor rain had fallen for three years. Now everything seems to be springing up as if to redeem the time of famine and dearth. The plenteous rains had done more for the earth than for the hearts of humanity; the fields were better prepared for labor than were the hearts of apostate Israel.
Wherever Elijah looked, the land he saw was owned by one man—a man who had not bowed the knee to Baal, whose heart had remained undivided in the service of God. Even during the captivity there were souls who had not gone into apostasy, and this family was included in the seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal. The owner of the land was Shaphat. Busy activity was seen among the workers. While the flocks were enjoying the green pastures, the busy hands of his servants were sowing the seed for a harvest.
The attention of Elijah was attracted to Elisha, the son of Shaphat, who with the servants was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen…. Far from city and court dissipation, Elisha had received his education. He had been trained in habits of simplicity, of obedience to his parents and to God….
Elisha waited contentedly, doing his work with fidelity. Day by day, through practical obedience and the divine grace in which he trusted, he obtained rectitude and strength of purpose. While doing all that he possibly could in cooperating with his father in the home firm, he was doing God’s service. He was learning how to cooperate with God.—Youth’s Instructor, April 14, 1898.
When the prophet saw Elisha with his servants plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, he came to the field of labor, and while passing by, he unfastened his mantle and threw it upon the shoulders of Elisha. He then passed on as if that were the end of the matter. But he knew that Elisha understood the significance of the action; and he left him, without speaking a word, to decide whether he would accept or reject the call.—Youth’s Instructor, April 21, 1898.