The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”
“No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.”
But they persisted until he was too ashamed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?” 2 Kings 2:15-18
There’s a saying in the vernacular: “I told you so.” Fifty prophets came to Elisha to tell him they could go look for Elijah. Like a persistent salesman, these prophets kept pressing Elisha. One ‘no’ should have been enough. Elisha knew exactly what had happened to Elijah. What we see here in a minor way is what we have in a major way in our society: hero worship.
The prophets obviously respected Elijah, probably because of what happened to the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah. People, even well-meaning and solid Believers, love to follow ‘names.’
A few weeks I heard the story of a pastor who sat with an ailing family for days in the hospital, waiting patiently for the family member to come out of a coma. In walks a well-known preacher with his entourage of workers. He stayed less than 30 minutes total going from room to room and praying over the sick. For the next few days it was all one of the family members spoke about. Then the pastor said to a friend, ‘it was as if I was invisible.’
Today’s a good day to pray for your pastor and to drop him an encouraging note in the mail. Chances are good that he isn’t a well-known ‘name’ and would welcome the encouragement. As Mark Twain used to say, “I can go three months on a good compliment.” Your words mean things.