Give it All You Have!
Keep Pounding, Keep Pouring
Manuary 12, 2016
I wonder if Elisha thought about the widow and her son while the king of Israel stood before him half-heartedly tapping his arrows on the ground? It was a simple instruction. “Strike the ground with your arrows.” And while the king obeyed, I get the feeling his heart wasn’t in it. Elisha was angry because he didn’t strike five or six times. However, I don’t think it was the number, so much as the heart behind each strike that was bothersome. Maybe there was a lack of belief that Elisha detected in this ruler.
This wasn’t the first time Elisha had made a funny request. Years earlier a widow also came to him for help. The Bible says, “Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be slaves.’” – 2 Kings 4:1 (ESV)
So this guy serves the LORD. He then dies. Then the bank comes to kidnap and enslave his kids because his wife he left behind couldn’t pay the bills. Does this make you wonder like me, where was God to this man’s family? And I can’t answer the question, except to say, God had bigger plans for this man and his family than an unknown life. Death in this life isn’t the end to God. Death, while painful can be used for good too. I don’t know exactly why or how this man died. But God chose to use his death for good.
The story continues. “And Elisha said to her, ‘What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?’ And she said, ‘Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.’ Then he said, ‘go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.’” – 2 Kings 4:2-5 (ESV)
This is how I would have reacted. “Well, I have one jar of oil and this guy wants me to go collect a bunch more jars so that I can pour my oil into them. Okay, I’ll go get a few jars and play along. I wonder if I should get a bunch of small jars so that I can fill more, or just a few big jars to pour all my oil in?” I guess I would have been kinda like that king.
But of course that’s not how it happened. Here’s what happened next. “So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’ And he said to her, ‘There is not another.’ Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.’” – 2 Kings 4:6-8 (ESV)
The Bible doesn’t say how many jars of oil they collected. It doesn’t say she collected six and that was enough. It doesn’t say she collected every empty jar in the village. It doesn’t say she spent days looking for more empty jars. It just says her sons brought her vessels until there were no more. But here’s why God worked for her. She was willing to have faith in Him. And she kept pouring until there was nothing left to pour INTO. It doesn’t say she kept pouring until the oil ran out. No, she kept pouring until there was nothing left to pour into. And it was enough.
I wonder if we’re pouring our oil just waiting for it to run out. Do we spend time with our family like it’s gonna run out? Do we work like our energy will dwindle? Do we love our children like there’s a limited quantity? God won’t use something you don’t have. Elisha asked this widow what she had in her house for a reason. God wants to multiply what you have. Bring your oil. Bring your love, your time, your energy, and whatever it may be that you have. Decide to let God use it and watch it multiply until there is enough. Then watch God bless you with the things you don’t yet have too.
Maybe this oil is an example of God’s love to us. It keeps pouring as long as we have a vessel ready to catch it. The king of Israel only tapped his arrows three times. He should have pounded them with passion. This woman, this widow, probably didn’t have a bunch of arrows for war laying around. All she had was a jar of oil. And she was asked to pour it out. And she poured it with passion. I wonder if we’re more like that king, or if we resemble the widow? Are we following God with passion? Are we pouring what we have out for Him? Or are we merely tapping the ground in compliance? It’s the passion that makes the difference. Let’s decide today to put our passion into what God asks of us. There’s a reason why they call the Crucifixion story “The Passion.” It was Jesus doing what was needed of Him with passion. And His decision turned the destiny of humanity from destruction to hope. And it was planned from the beginning. Jesus’ was a rescue mission planned before creation ever began. Destinies aren’t always just cause and effect. They’re often the effect of God on our lives. But we must decide to let God affect our lives first. Decide with me today. Be passionate about it, because your destiny lies right beside your passion.
Live with Passion,