2 Kings 2:9-10 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 not."
2 Kings 2:11-14 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 own clothes and tore them apart. He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it. "Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
For successful succession to occur, there must be, firstly, a willing mentor and mentee. Elijah must be willing to let go of his anointing to his mentee and Elisha must be willing to receive the anointing from his mentor. So Elijah asked Elisha: "What can I do for you before I am taken from you?" And Elisha's answer demonstrates his great willingness and desire to have the anointing of his mentor: "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit."
Secondly, for a successful succession to occur, our mentees must be people who are willing to take the ministry further--not just people who are in maintenance mode, but expansion mode. So, Elisha had the right quality to be Elijah's mentor because he asked for a "double portion of your spirit". The right choice of successors can mean the ministry expands or contracts after us. We need mentees with a passion greater than ours so that the ministry will continue to impact more lives.
Thirdly, for successful succession to occur, the mentor must acknowledge that while he could transfer his authority, he cannot guarantee the anointing, which comes from God alone: "You have asked a difficult thing, yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours--otherwise not." While we may have a choice as to whom we want to succeed or replace us, the anointing is not ours to give. The mentor's strong desire determines if he or she will inherit the same or even greater anointing. Elisha had to follow Elijah closely and not let him out of his sight, not even for a moment: "if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours." Whether Elisha would get his double portion of Elijah's anointing really depends on Elisha's persistence and desire. It's really a transaction between Elisha and the God of Israel, not between Elisha and Elijah.
Father, thank You for showing us what we can and what we cannot do as leaders and mentors. May we be successful in our succession. Amen.