I am sure some of you are walking into similar situations. When Ben asked me to pray I thought of Elisha following Elijah. No, I didn’t think of him because of Elisha’s hairline. (Though part of me could see Ben being tempted to call down bears from the Tatra Mountains to maul some Slovak urchins who were jeering him.) I think Elijah would have had a big cloak to fill. Elijah was the man. You got the praying and no rain for three years, the Mount Carmel showdown, hanging out with Jesus and Moses at the Mount of Transfiguration, having a seat saved for him at every Passover meal, etc. We even learn from Matt Mikalatos that he later visited other planets.
I can’t even imagine what was going through Elisha’s head when suddenly this chariot of fire with horses of fire separates him from his spiritual father and he sees Elijah taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. But Elisha picks up Elijah’s cloak and does a number of things he did (parts the Jordan, miraculously sustains a widow and raises a dead boy) and more amazing things (makes a deadly stew safe to eat, feeds 100, heals a leper, makes an axhead float, etc.). As far as I can tell the 7000 in Israel who knees have not bowed to Baal accept Elisha as their leader. And those 42 youth who teased him wished in hindsight that they had.
Here are some leadership principles gleaned from Elisha’s life:
- Know that God has handpicked you for this role.
- Leave everything behind as a sacrifice.
- Be known as a servant.
- Help your team see the realty that when you are on God’s side there are more with us than against us.
- Lead from a Double-shot of the Spirit.
Actually that is more intriguing to me than making an axe head float or calling down bears on youth who call you baldy. Elisha asked to inherit a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. (In Kentucky where the McGuire’s hail from I imagine they would say “A Double Dose of the Holy Ghost”.) It makes me think of that 80’s praise song, More Love, More Power. I never understood how you can have more of God in your life. How can you have a double portion of the Spirit?
Double portion is a phrase used in the OT in several places to refer to special favor or blessing. It is like an extra reward.
Elisha knew that to follow Elijah and to lead in wicked times that he needed the Spirit in a special way. I think that’s what we need today. Maybe as NT believers we would cry out, “God would you look down in favor on me and pour out your Spirit on me to enable me to lead.” That’s what we need whether we are stepping into someone’s shoes or leading the first team to our location. We need His Spirit to control and empower us. We need to walk moment by moment in the Spirit. We need a double shot of His boldest blend… to go... Venti… no room for cream or anything else.