Memo 999: Jars Aplenty
Before I knew the Bible, I thought all the miraculous deeds were in the New Testament and the Old was simply history. I was wrong. This week as we seek to unlock the power of our faith, let's look at an Old Testament story involving a prophet and a widow whose husband died leaving an unpaid debt. The widow sought the help of the prophet and what he told her to do has many faith lessons from which we can learn and grow. Let's get started.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOUSE?
The prophets name was Elisha but we don't know the widow's name. We do know she had more than one son and that she was in financial stress:
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “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" (2 Kings 4:1-7).
In a way, the woman's story resembles the story of Hagar we looked at a few weeks ago. Like Hagar, the widow assumed she and her family were doomed because she could not see any way out of her dilemma. However, this widow came to the prophet and in a way asked him, "What can God do and how can He do it to save us? Help me see what I cannot see." In response, the prophet asked her one simple question: "What do you have in your house?" Her response in essence was, "Not enough to live on or help us if that's what you mean. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here!" She didn't think she had enough but the prophet knew God had enough if they could simply find a way to release it. That's when he came up with his jars aplenty strategy.
WISHING FOR MORE
The prophet told the woman to go and borrow containers and then start pouring oil. This must have seemed quite foolish to her, but she was desperate and had nothing to lose, so she complied. The boys went and got the jars, handed them to her, and she poured. Oh yes, and she did it behind closed doors because faith is a private affair but often when people see you doing something faith "foolish," they can deride or discourage the faithful. In the presence of her family, the widow began pouring olive oil which didn't run out until the containers did. At that point, I am sure she wished she had borrowed more jars, for it must have been great fun and highly exhilarating to see God move on their behalf. When the widow went back to give the prophet her testimony, he instructed her to sell the oil, settle her debt, and live on the rest.
The lessons from this story are many, and I have already mentioned some, but here are others to consider:
- Faith must be taught to the next generation. They need to see us operate in faith.
- Often we cannot see the value of what we have once it is mixed with faith.
- We need others to help us see what we have and what we need to do.
- The time to prepare for abundance is before it comes, not while it is coming or after it arrives.
- We need to give our faith testimonies because in them we will receive further insight and instruction for the way forward.
- We must be careful with whom we share our faith actions and our testimonies from our faith actions.
- God has promised to meet our needs and we should hold Him to that promise by acting like it is so before it is so.
I'm sure you see more lessons so feel free to share them where this entry is posted. In the meantime, what do you have in your house that God can use for your provision? Who can help you see what you have and what to do? What can you do to prepare today for your breakthrough tomorrow? If you want to unlock the power of your faith, then you need to act in faith today so that when your faith answer comes, you will not be getting ready but will be more than ready. As you prepare, make sure your strategy is to gather jars aplenty so you can capture the blessing when it comes. Have a blessed week!