Daughters of Promise November/December 2014 - Page 25

was this small flask of oil that multiplied to buy her sons’ freedom. We might ask ourselves the question: What do I have in my house? Our smallest, most unlikely resource—even the thing we deem a weakness—may be the thing that God intends to multiply into the fulfillment of our needs. Stop and take inventory. Look in the corners of your heart and life and see what resources of time, money, talent, and wisdom you have available. Then, take those resources and, as the widow did, put them to use. Elisha instructed her: “Go borrow empty jars from all your neighbors. Don’t ask for a just few. Then, go into your house, close the door, and fill the jars.” What an astonishing command! It might have sounded irrational to this woman, but she obeyed. She prepared for abundance without any rock-solid guarantees that it would come. Yet she was obedient to Elisha’s command and gathered every available receptacle. Her faith was miraculously rewarded. As I’ve pondered this story afresh, I have been amazed to realize that the amount of jars she gathered determined the amount of provision she received. Scripture tells us that the oil stopped multiplying as soon as the last jar was full. What if she had only borrowed two? The oil would have stopped flowing when they were full, and the income generated would not have been sufficient to pay off her debts. This is sobering to me. God invites me to test Him; to offer up my meager flask of oil and see if he won’t fill every empty jar I can get my hands on. Yet often my faith is short-sighted, and when I find myself in need, I stop collecting at two. “except a small jar of olive oil.” Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” This story captivates me. We read of a woman who is, in every way, at the end of her rope. Her husband and provider is dead. Her sons are about to be taken as slaves to settle her debts. This woman has no other options; she is destitute, and she knows it. Here is the first lesson about claiming God’s sufficiency: I must recognize, like the widow woman, that I am inadequate. I do not have what it takes...to save a life, cancel an emotional debt, be a kind person, or cope with ministry challenges. Admitting my brokenness gives God room to work. Stubbornly insisting that I am capable dams up His grace and leads to spiritual destitution. Like the widow, it is important that we know who to ask for help. This lady recognized Elisha as a man who could help her and she went boldly to him. Even the strongest people in our lives aren’t enough to shore up the weakest parts of our souls. We need something more to equip us for our daily tasks. In my own life, I am learning to run to God first with my needs-great or smallcrying, “Jesus I need you!” Time spent with Him brings wisdom and solace that no human being or circumstance can. I love Elisha’s response to this woman’s plea for help: “What do you have in your house?” She answered: “I have nothing there at all…” and then added, “except a small jar of oil.” It must have seemed almost ridiculous to mention something so small. Yet it God is calling you and me to borrow empty jars; to prepare for abundant provision. Stepping out in faith is scary, but like a muscle, faith grows strong with practice. I encourage you to begin with small steps. Today, do something that requires faith: start a life-giving conversation with a stranger. Share your testimony in church. Enforce that new daily routine your kids will hate but you know they need. Be honest with a friend. When we ask God to come through for us, and then prepare for plenty, we communicate our love to Him. He invites us to trust Him completely, and promises to abundantly respond: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” (Ps. 81:10, ESV). The degree to which I trust Him is the degree to which I will experience His sufficiency. The Lord has been my sufficiency over and over again. When I come up empty, I cry to Him for help and He hears me. The strength, wisdom, and courage that is the result is as miraculous as the widow’s provision of oil. I want to be more like her, freely confessing my need, asking for help, and then preparing for plenty. Like the small village child who came with many thousands to hear Jesus, I have nothing to offer Him save a few loaves and fishes. They will never be enough to meet my needs or the needs of those around me. So I will give them to Jesus. He will multiply my meager offering to feed multitudes and to fill me as well. | My inadequacy REVEA 1L)