3 simple words spoken by a widow who had nothing, yet they have had a profound impact on my life and the blessings I have received. These words totally rock my world.
I am referring to the story in 2 Kings 4 about a widow and her sons. By the way, this is one of my favourite stories. The family was poor and hungry. And they desperately needed a miracle to survive. And they received one. Though not in the way that we would assume.
There was no cheque waiting in the mail. No mysterious boxes of groceries that showed up on her doorstep. No generous friends or family who stepped in to help this woman. Actually, it was olive oil that saved her. Elijah (the man of God) had visited her and we read: “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing at all,” she said, “except for a little olive oil” 2 Kings 4:2
The rest of the story goes on to tell how the woman collected jars from her neighbours and friends. She filled each one with the “little olive oil” she had in her home. The oil did not run out until they ran out of jars. Then they sold the oil and lived off the money.
I first became aware of ‘a little oil’ when we were starting a community children’s ministry A ministry that fed children both physically and spiritually. Our ‘little oil’ were the prayers of the saints who would pray for one of these community children each week. We asked people to pray for a individual child during our meeting time each Friday night. Our desire was to have a enough prayer warriors, one for each child, And God filled our jars abundantly – children discovering Jesus, families coming into the house of the Lord for the first time and staying, increased peace and less violence in the community. And we never wanted for anything.
God bestowed in this ministry a season of tremendous blessings.
Again early in this current season the Lord drew my attention again to these 3 simple words ‘except a little’. A new season. A season of grace. A season of giving.
But this season is different to the first. I sensed that through my thoughts and prayers that my focus was to be on what I currently have. It was from these 3 words that the Lord taught me the following
What we have in our possession, is common
It was too little to even register in the widow’s mind as something of value. When she was asked, “what do you have?” she replied, “nothing.” Yet, this small amount of oil set her and her sons up for the rest of their lives.
I was challenged to ponder if I was in a similar situation?
If someone were to ask me, “what do I have?” I would be fumbling for an answer. But the truth is that I did not need a lot.
Let me remind you – “a little” was all God needed.
God loves to take what we think is totally insufficient and turn it into more than enough. So, I asked myself, what is “the little” that I have? What is in my heart? My calendar? My bank account? My dreams? My natural gifts and abilities? My experiences?
God used what we have to bless us
Did you notice that when Elijah asked her what she had, she said, nothing! Sometimes, I have found myself in the same situation where I thought I had nothing. When we were living totally by faith for over a year and to have nothing to help us out, at times it felt like nothing. But this woman had a little oil, something she never really thought had much value but Elijah told her what to do with it.
But what’s really interesting is how it was done.
She was required to act.
Most of life miracles are done with our hands
Elijah told her to go around to all of her neighbours and ask for their empty jars and then fill the jars with oil. But the catch of course is that she doesn’t have any oil. That’s the whole problem. She was broke.
But she did it anyway.
What’s remarkable is that this was a miracle done by her, a regular person. Elisha didn’t actually do anything. He gave her instructions. It was up to her to believe that what he said would come true. It was up to her to believe in unseen
The trick is to keep pouring.
Keep pouring until there isn’t a jar left that isn’t full of the blessings you want for your life.
We all have something God can use to work with our faith and bring us His grace.
God has called me to wait as He reveals my olive oil in this season. I will talk more about this in future blogs. But at the moment when I step back and think about it, it gets clear “Your servant has nothing at all, … except for a little olive oil”
May we each find a little oil today.