As I see it, one of the most chilling scenes in all of literature is found within Charles Dickens’ famous masterpiece, A Christmas Carol. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come visits Ebenezer Scrooge, showing him a conversation where a group of businessmen are discussing someone’s death. There isn’t much good to say about the person, and when the discussion turns to the man’s funeral, they agree there isn’t much point in going unless there’s a free lunch. Of course, the vision of the future is a revelation of Scrooge’s own death, and the defining, seemingly unanimous reality of his mark on the world is that he was a miserable, lonely, friendless, hermit of a man.
The scene disturbs me because it gets me thinking about my own death, about what people will have to say about me when I’m gone. What reputation will hang over my life here when it is over? I don’t know if you think about these things often, but they are worth considering. So, what will others say about you and your life when all is said and done?
Elisha’s ministry is miraculous. From multiplying limited stores of oil, to proclaiming fertility to a barren woman, to raising a dead child from the dead (2 Kings 4:1–37)—these scenes are just a few glimpses of Elisha’s part in God’s miracles. And yet, these miracles aren’t necessarily the defining statement on Elisha’s life and ministry. What is noted about him and his reputation is declared by the king of Judah, Jehoshaphat.
Looking for wisdom from the Lord in light of how to fight the neighboring Moabites, Jehoshaphat and Joram seek insight. Upon hearing a prophet is in the area, they wonder who the prophet is. When it’s revealed that the prophet is Elisha, Jehoshaphat is satisfied because he believes “the word of the LORD is with him” (2 Kings 3:12). Clearly, Elisha has a powerful reputation!
Brother, perhaps this could be said of you? Do you long for this kind of reputation? Beyond just your occupation, your career achievements, the status of your financial portfolio, even the family and children you leave behind, what would be said of you? Perhaps the best would be that you were a man of God’s Word.
This starts with our faith in the Word of God incarnate, Jesus Christ, who became flesh and blood, died for our sins, and was raised to life again on the third day. We become “men of the word of God every day” as we listen, read, study, memorize, meditate, and share the truth of the gospel daily.
Known for more than the miracles he performed, Elisha was a man of God’s word. What reputation will you leave behind? What declaration will be made you and your life on that last day?
Written by Jeremy Writebol