Apprenticeship |

Posted on May 9, 2009 by


The idea that I’m about to present came about during a late night talk in college. We were talking about the limitations of our internships, of our schooling and what we wished we could get out of all of these. The result that came during the conversation was the age old system of Apprenticeship. To partner with a master of the craft. To live with them and learn the ins and outs of one who lives the life of a craftsmen.

(those involved in the conversation were a bible major, a film major, a political science major, and a musical composition major.)

Our Complaints|

The educational system that we are all put through teaches a great deal of information. We are expected to transfer that information into knowledge. But what we need is wisdom, or less accurately the practical working out of that knowledge.

The solution to that, in recent history, has been the internship. A time spent working a lesser version of the career you wish to pursue. The result of this is that you vaguely know the “on the job” expectations and have some working knowledge. But for us this fell short.

Our Desire (solution)|

Not so long ago there was, and in some places there still is, a system of education called Apprenticeship. The main idea is to live with a master of the field which you want to study and be intimately taught one on one.

For the most part we agreed that if we had the chance to apprentice with someone we respected we would do it.

How does this apply to worship and biblical values?

I’m glad you asked.

In 1 Kings 19  God speaks to Elijah, THE prophet of the day, and says that he is to anoint a new king of Aram and Israel and his own successor. Now God does not just tell Elijah to pick someone he thinks might be good for the job, or to wait for the man to ask for the honor of following the prophet, He tells Elijah to go and find Elisha the son of Shapat from Abelmeholah. Lots of names we don’t really understand, but the point is this, God says “I have the man for you.” His name is Elisha. He lives in this town and this is his father. That’s pretty specific.

Elijah gets up and goes to find this young man. At this point Elijah is pretty well recognized as a Man of God, in the strongest sense. Elijah walks up to Elisha and puts his cloak on Elisha’s shoulders. Elisha knew exactly what this meant and asked to say goodbye to his family, then he offered up a sacrifice to God and followed Elijah.

The connection here is that Elisha left home and followed Elijah. Day and night, helping when told, and observing the actions and listening to the teachings of this amazing Man of God.

Fast Forward|2 Kings 2

Elijah is about to be taken up to heaven in a whirlwind and Elisha will not leave him. The amount of dedication Elisha must have had towards Elijah. Elijah kept telling him to stay behind as he went where the LORD was leading him. But Elisha would not stay behind, because he knew what was about to happen.

Elijah is taken into heaven on a chariot of fire

Elisha becomes the Man that God called him to be|

After Elijah’s ascension Elisha calls out to God. “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?”2kings2:14

God splits the river just like He did for Elijah. After that Elisha doesn’t miss a beat. The people of Jericho approach him with a problem with the drinking water. Without hesitation he tells them what to do and God purifies the water. The Shunemite woman approaches him and he tells her just what to do. The time that Elisha spent living and learning from Elijah gave him the confidence to trust God in all things. It makes me wonder, if we did things this way would we have the confidence to lead as Elisha did, With no fear of man?

Increasingly in today’s society we have a loss of moral values. We have boys who won’t grow up. We have girls who are searching for any kind of acceptance. We have a culture that stands for nothing but the maintenance of the status quo; minimal conflict, greed, comfort, and individuality. What we need is more people who understand what it means to be Men and Women of honor and are willing to teach all of what they know to someone else. It’s not enough to teach best practices anymore, because we will abuse that knowledge and twist it to serve our selfish desires. What we need is to be taught how the way of life, God’s way,  makes life worth living.

My hope is that we will one day do this for the next generation. Pick one or two men or women of promise, take them into our homes and our lives, let them become like second children to us, teach them the values behind the work, teach them the importance of rest and the rhythm of life. Let them into our hearts and show them what this work will do to you.

I don’t know what this looks like yet, but I guarantee it’s messy and not systematic or professional. It’s going to hurt, the mentor and the mentee are going to fail, we all might look like fools. But what will the result be? Men and Women who love God and understand why their work is important to Him. Men and Women who stand in the gap and say “No, I can’t do that. It’s not right.” instead of “We’re going to make so much money off this.”

Posted in: Praxis