John Maxwell Profiles in Leadership: Elisha – Between Expectation and Reality

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John Maxwell This is the second lesson in bestselling author and speaker John Maxwell’s Leadership by the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, tell them to sign up to receive John’s free email devotional here.


By John C. Maxwell

1 Kings 19:19–21

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The good news: Elijah named Elisha as his successor. The bad news: nothing significant happened for ten years. Elisha went from the son of a wealthy farmer to the servant of an itinerant prophet. He left a season of sowing in the field to enter a season of sowing in his spirit.

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Like Elisha, you also face good news and bad news. The good: you can be a leader. The bad: it’s not going to happen overnight. Leadership requires patience and perseverance, serving and seasoning. When you receive a call from God, you may be anxious to begin immediately. But God may first call you into obscurity, or to seasons of learning when you feel insignificant, overlooked, and underappreciated.

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What do you do when you are living between expectation and reality? Elisha’s example should encourage you to:

  • Give your best wherever God puts you.
  • Focus more on God’s purpose than your position.
  • Help another leader fulfill his or her vision until God gives you a vision.

If you’re in a season where you’re experiencing a gap between God’s call on your life and your present reality, remember Elisha’s ten years of quiet preparation. When you continue serving with faithfulness, humility, and right motives, you’re making room in your life for God to fulfil his purposes in you—when the time is right.

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The above is adapted from The Maxwell Leadership Bible / Third Edition by John C. Maxwell (@JohnCMaxwell). Copyright © 2002, 2007, 2018 by Maxwell Motivation, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.


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