One of my favourite, and I believe a pivotally important story, is that of Elijah and Elisha. The young Elisha really burnt his bridges to go and follow the older prophet, to walk alongside him, to learn all that he could from him. When the time came for Elijah to depart the young prophet was ready for his task, and to carry the great anointing and call on his life.
If I had to give advice to anyone wanting to move ahead in their spiritual journey I would say look for your Elijah and don't leave his side until God decides it's time.
Recently I led a contemplative retreat that spread over several days. Of all the people there, the one I was most drawn to was a gracious woman of 84 years. When I wasn't speaking I would sit beside her, enjoying the presence of God around her life.
This dear lady had come with new hearing aids and they were just too hard to manage, so she took them out and decided that she would just sit with God and enjoy His presence in the time we met together and glean the little snippets she heard of the rest. When it came time to talk about what we were seeing and hearing, she was the one who had the key that tied it all together!
At the end of our last meeting, she took a younger woman's hand, prayed for her, and walked on. The younger woman was left unable to stand under the weight of God's presence that touched her life.
Although I was invited to lead the retreat, I was also happy to walk alongside a woman who had more years in prayer than I have yet enjoyed, and I have to say I am so much richer for the experience.
Although I am no longer young myself, there is always someone walking ahead that I can glean from and grow. There have always been those I have 'esteemed more highly than myself' and known could enrich my life in some way.
If you want to go on and grow, ask God to lead you to your Elijah, it is so much better than walking the journey alone, and builds such strength. The retreat reminded me that there will always be an Elijah somewhere from whom I can learn. I never turn away a younger person who wants to sit and talk, open up ideas and share in my life, for exactly the same reason.
Let's remember the amazing example God gives us in the story of Elijah and Elisha, read it again and draw from it's wisdom.