Four of the high profile Givers in Scripture are not too elegant. Cain and Judas fought God’s agenda. Job and Joseph of Arimathea had a pretty big dose of the religious spirit, doing a lot of things right for questionable reasons.
In my opinion, Abraham and Elisha come the closest to receiving the heart of God for them, but not for the reasons that are bandied about in our Sunday School stories.
Elisha is celebrated for doing twice as many miracles as Elijah. Good stuff. Not what I consider his core treasure – his representation of the heart of God.
I think his biggest gift was being able to be a friend to Elijah. When Elijah went to Mt. Horeb to turn in his resignation, it was mostly because of his antisocial tendencies. Obadiah told him flat out that there were 100 prophets ready to back him up, but he pulled the poor-poor-pitiful-me routine instead of embracing the treasures God handed him on a silver platter.
Even at the end of his life, he was so antisocial, prickly and unapproachable, that none of his spiritual children – presumably tough old prophets in their own right – not even one, had the courage to come say “Thanks a lot, and good bye.”
But, loneliness had taken Elijah down. He was tough enough to do Mt. Carmel, but crumbled in isolation.
So, God in His infinite wisdom found him a friend – a Giver who could make like a Gumby doll and bend and flex to Elijah’s stuff, without becoming broken.
God and Elisha were probably the only two people who really loved Elijah. Lots of people respected him or feared him, but what’s to love in that old boy?
Honors to you, Elisha, for modeling how to be a friend under some of the hardest circumstances.
Then there is Abraham.
He is the only person in Scripture who earned the sobriquet “The Friend of God.”
In my mind, that is even more noble than “A Man After God’s Own Heart.”
How big do you have to be to be a friend of God? What did God enjoy about Abraham that He offered him that immense title?
In the end, relationship requires character. I have a lot of relationships based on good character with people I would not necessarily enjoy having a vacation with.
Friendship requires chemistry.
In short, Abraham had received so much of God’s heart, God enjoyed him. They had chemistry.
And to me, that is immense. Amazing. Staggering. A source of infinite honor for Abraham.
Clearly God grew Abraham into that place. He front loaded the investment. The fact that Abraham responded to God and got to that place is credit to Abraham, but God carried the heavy end of the log to start the process and empower it along the way.
And it is shoutingly obvious that God CHOSE a Giver to be His best friend. There is nothing that says it was one-and-done with Abraham.
I have no idea what God did to grow Abraham to that place. But I am quite sure that He still has the playbook. And He could do that again.
If someone cared.
A lot of people have prayed a lot of things about the Givers in their midst – not all of them kind and gentle prayers.
I don’t think I have ever prayed myself, or heard another pray, that God would grow Givers to become His friends.
We Prophets – and by extension SLG as a Prophet tribe – are designed to do catalytic things no one else has done. Why not this?
Suppose SLG became God’s premier incubator for Givers who He wanted to grow into a position of friendship with Him?
Clearly we don’t have a fraction of a crumb of an idea how to do that, but who needs a plan when you are a Prophet company? Just start. And the starting point is to ask God to do what He already knows how to do, for the Givers He has graced us with.
Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub