“And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.” II Kings 4:2
I have always loved this story in II Kings where Elisha helps a widow discover that the abundance of God’s giving is closer to home than she could have imagined. There is so much to learn from this story, especially in light of the challenging times a lot of folks are having these days.
The widow could only see how much she didn’t have. Elisha asked her to admit what she did have. There’s a lesson for all of us right there.
He told her to borrow “empty vessels” from all her neighbors. And she was obedient, even though it probably seemed foolish. But obedience is crucial. If God is telling you to do something, even when you don’t understand why–you better do it, even if everyone thinks you’re crazy.
By the way, can you imagine what the neighbors were thinking after she came around asking for empty pots? Undoubtedly, they knew she was having problems with a creditor, who was about to take away her two sons in payment of her debt. But now she was borrowing all these containers. There was probably a healthy dose of speculation going on in the neighborhood.
A shift in thought
But a shift in the neighbors’ thinking had taken place. What started out as pity for the widow and perhaps fear that the same could happen to them gradually became a curiosity as to what was going to happen. In other words, they went from pity and fear to expectation. That is a big shift of consciousness. All from a few pots being borrowed. (Not to mention Elisha’s prayers.)
Well, you probably remember what happens. The widow and her two sons close the doors (shut out all the curiosity, doubts and fears of the neighbors) and start pouring out oil from the one pot they started with. They end up filling ALL the empty pots from their one. When they run out of empty pots, the oil stops flowing.
The oil stopped because that was all they could handle at that time. I’ve always thought that if they had borrowed more pots they would have had more oil. But who knows?
Now pretend you are a fly on the wall. Take a look at the amazement on the faces of the widow and her sons. The pity party had turned into a celebration of abundance.
What would you do if you had been the widow or one of the sons? Think for a moment. What would be your first inclination? They must have been full of gratitude, but they were so overcome, they hardly knew what to do. It was more than they could have imagined. This nameless widow, from whom we can learn so much, did the smartest thing she could do. She went back to Elisha and asked for further guidance.
Here’s another lesson for us: When God showers you with blessings, seek divine guidance on what to do next. Don’t try to figure it out all by yourself.
Elisha then instructed her to sell the oil to pay her debts and live off the rest of the income.
Wow! Wouldn’t it be great if that could happen today? Well, it is happening right now. You have much in your house. What has God already given you? What is the”oil” in your “house”? Okay, maybe it’s some stuff you could sell on eBay, but think about what’s in your heart: the ability to love and forgive, a talent, a desire to help others?
It’s time to get some empty vessels!
It’s time to round up a lot of “empty pots.” Enlarge your expectancy of what God is providing for you. Let Him take what you have and multiply it. How much good are you prepared to receive? He is already giving us so much more than we are accepting. If we don’t accept His outpourings of good, we won’t be able to hold onto them.
That’s right. So, go get more empty pots, more receptivity…….. No, that’s not enough, go get more. God gives all His goodness to us. We have His unlimited goodness. But it’s not material things. It is spiritual. Just accepting this fact can open the door to new ideas of purpose, productivity and usefulness and in turn provide all that we need in our daily lives. We have unlimited spiritual resources. Do we see them and how are we using them? What is the pot of oil in your house?
Here is a poem I wrote some time back. It’s all about what God gives us.
“What Hast Thou in the House?”
All that is God’s will for me to have
I have all He has given me, and nothing less.
He has given me
All substance, strength, wisdom, beauty, and honor
All His love and truth He gives to me
xxxxxbecause He loves me.
Yes, He loves me, the child of His creating
the idea of His revealing.
xxxxxI do not see the allness of His giving.
xxxxxI do not feel the wholeness of His blessing.
Cease your lies, Satan.
Can God send light and darkness together?
Can darkness remain when His light is present?
Can God give truth yet withhold love?
Can God ordain life and not supply health?
Can God send forth substance and allow decay or lack to follow?
No! No! No! No! NO!
to each material sense!
I have health, wholeness, completeness–all good.
God sends no darkness,
all I have is His light.
I have all good
xxxxxxall love and life
xxxxxxall consciousness of His gifts
xxxxxxall ability to use His gifts
xxxxxxall victory over evil
I have all
I have All
I have God.
As always, I’d love to hear your experiences and ideas on this subject in the comment box below. And please share this with a friend. God Bless, James