When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.
“You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two. 2 Kings 2:9-12 (NIV)
Elisha was the prophetic successor to Elijah. Both men were great men of God, chosen to be prophets to the kings of Israel and Judah. They had a rather unenviable job- to preach the truth to leaders who didn’t obey and didn’t want to listen. Their job was so stressful and difficult that God used two men.
Elisha asked wisely when Elijah offered to do something for him before he had to go. He asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elisha showed some shameless audacity in his request. Time and time again in Scripture we see that asking big with a right heart has its rewards. God wants to answer our prayers when they reflect His will.
God puts people in our lives who serve as examples. In some way, everyone is an example of something. Some people are good at showing us examples of what not to do. The ones who show us the good and right way to live are especially precious. Like Elisha, as good protégés, we should break out our shameless audacity and ask God for an extra whallop of whatever it is that our good examples have going for them.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
All of us have that great cloud of witnesses around us, living and those who have passed on. We have been given the gift of everyone who has ever mentored us or shown us a good example of what God-life is all about. We are certainly not alone in the race we are running. There are also those around us who see us as mentors- as their own “Elijahs.”
It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s also hard to pass the mantle of authority down to those who follow us. Yet it is God who gives us our purpose and the fortitude to carry out the various roles He gives us- and those who follow us. May the Holy Spirit give us all a double portion of the spirit and strength of those who have gone before us!