Sunday, May 10, 2009

Elijah or the Raven?

Columnist Harvey Mackay wrote a column entitled “The heart of education is the education of the heart.” I read the article a long time ago, and it made a lasting impression. Why?

Because Mackay shares some stories about educators who were also mentors. In this article he speaks of two of his own mentors, the second being his golf coach…

“My other mentor was Les Bolstad, the University of Minnesota golf coach. Like all great coaches and teachers, Les did not teach golf. He taught life. If you learned a little golf on the side, well, so much the better.”

Les Bolstad was a raven!

Harvey Mackay was willing to learn from a somewhat unapparent teacher. Sure Bolstad was a golf coach, but Mackay learned so much more from him. He learned about life.

But why do I say, “Les Bolstad is a raven.” I’m referring to a fairly famous Bible story from 1st Kings 17. It is a story about a prophet named Elijah:

Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."

Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there."

So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

This week I had a fellow educator visit my classroom. Many of my coworkers are 20 or so years younger than I am. They have young children while my children have young children.

Despite the age difference, we all have problems. Because I’m older and more experienced, I can sometimes offer questions, insights, or advice that is helpful. I can be a raven, if they are willing to be an Elijah.

Elijah was a man of ability and influence, but he possessed a humility that allowed him to receive help from unusual sources, even from some questionable sources. Ravens were not held in high regard: they were and are scavengers.

Depending on the situation you may play the role of Elijah or the raven, if you are willing.

Me? I was a raven this week, sharing a bit of help to a needy and willing recipient. Caw!


  1. I believe you make a great raven.

    There was a time in my life that I thought the only worthy calling was to be an Elijah, but as I've grown older (and I still have a lot of that to do), I've realized the importance of "Ravens" in people's lives, and strive to be one whenever possible.

    ...I've just never thought of it as a raven... If the boot fits..."caw?"

  2. I was a raven this past week and used your phrase about a friendly universe in yesterday's sermon.

  3. You are so right my friend.........we never know how we will be called to be used as a vessel for Him.
    Great story :)

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  4. Reggie,

    Glad you liked the story. I'm guessing you saw yourself in the story: my raven-like friend.