"When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, 'Tell me what can I do for you before I'm taken from you?' 'Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,' Elisha replied." 2 Kings 2:9 (NIV).
Something was up. His mentor was on edge, fidgety. Was Elijah really trying to lose his protégé? Elisha was determined. Regardless of Elijah's erratic behavior, he would stick close by.
Elisha's friends down at the local prophetic school seemed to know more than he did. Who told them that Elijah was leaving? Was there a hint of expectation in their voices? Who wouldn't want to step into Elijah's sandals and take his place?
Impartation is a buzzword in some Christian circles today. I believe things can be imparted but I don't always agree with how this is administered. The laying on of hands isn't anything new. Maybe that's part of the problem. It has become commonplace, reduced to an expected ritual.
Paul wrote to Timothy, "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure." 1 Tim. 5:22. Paul advised using caution when laying hands on individuals. Was Timothy willing to be responsible for the manner that a person handled an impartation? Transference works both ways. How well did Timothy know this person? Did he want what they had? Paul recognized the power of impartation and the importance that both parties understood what's involved.
I heard a speaker share a recent experience. After a session a listener approached, requested prayer and asked the speaker to lay hands on them. This person desired a double portion of the speaker's anointing.
The speaker wisely saw an educational opportunity. Laying hands on the petitioner the prayer went something like this. "Lord, give this person a double portion of the struggles, hardships, difficulties and persecutions I've endured."
Aghast, the recipient knocked the speaker's hands away and angrily demanded, "What are you doing? I didn't ask for THAT!" The truth was exposed; all the person wanted was fame and notoriety.
Elijah and Elisha shared a close bond. Elisha served Elijah, he did all the grunt work. As Elijah's Man Friday, Elisha had seen it all; the short bursts of excitement and the long haul of drudgery. If anyone was prepared to succeed Elijah, it was he.
Elisha requested the double portion only after given an open invitation by Elijah to ask for anything. This is a much different scenario than the one described above. Although the heir-apparent, Elisha wasn't a shoo-in.
"You have asked a difficult thing,' Elijah said, 'yet if you see me when I'm taken from you, it will be yours - otherwise it will not.'" 2 Kings (NIV).
Even if Elisha was Elijah's first choice, the double portion wasn't his to give. In order to receive Elijah's mantle, Elisha need vision. He couldn't receive what he couldn't see.
It's no different today. It isn't a matter of "I'll believe it when I see it," but, "I'll believer it and then I'll see it." Faith requires belief before sight. Impartation is more than a drive-by, fast food distribution of mantles and anointing. God likes slow cookin'.
How about you? Is there someone whose shoes you'd love to walk in? What hardships did they endure for the sake of the anointing they carried? How would your life need to change in order for God and His calling to maintain top priority? What things would have to go? Are you still sure you want this?