Time Out: The servant who became the master (Elisha)

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

Elisha doesn’t get as much attention as many other Bible servants, but he is among the best. For many years he was a student of Elijah and served his master faithfully and loyally. When Elijah was dying and Elijah asked what his wish was, Elisha said he wanted to minister as faithfully as Elijah had and God granted that wish. Elisha went on to perform even more miracles than Elijah, although it was really God doing them through him. He is a fine example of someone who learned how to serve and then became a master who taught others.

While almost everyone wants to lead and things they can do well at it, very few desire to serve. Yet only those who really have learned how to serve can truly lead. Those in the bible who have become the best leaders have had to go through a time of learning to first follow. David, Paul, Joseph, even Jesus Himself, had to learn to serve before being placed in a place of leadership. That’s the basis of the military’s officer training program, as well. Those training to be officers must learn to take orders before they can learn to give orders.

It seems tempting to want to skip the servant step and go right to leadership. After all, we’d rather be giving orders than taking them. But that’s not the way it works with God. Remember, Jesus Himself said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slaveā€” just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28).

Make sure you learn how to serve others, how to be a team player, how to follow directions and support the leaders over you. Learn the lessons God is now trying to teach you about being a servant. Work harder at being a servant than a leader. For when we learn to be good servants we automatically qualify to become godly leaders ā€“ and not before!

Matthew 10:24-25, “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.”

Luke 16:10, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

Matthew 25:21, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'”


  • How well do you do with taking orders and serving others?
  • Are you more interested in being a good servant to other people or in becoming a leader yourself?
  • Who, to you, is a good example of a servant whom God has put in leadership position? What can you learn from this person?
  • What specifically can you do today to be a better servant to those around you?

Jerry SchmoyerJerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!

Posted on July 5, 2009

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