In 2 Kings chapter 4 we read the story of the widow who is deeply in debt and the creditors are about to come and sell her only two children into slavery in order to pay her debt. In desperation she cries out to Elisha about her situation. We’ll let scripture tell the rest of the story:
2 Kings 2:4-7 “Elisha asked her, "What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" She said, "Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil." Then he said, "Go and borrow empty containers from everyone—from all your neighbors. Do not get just a few. Then go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour oil into all these containers. Set the full ones to one side." So she left. After she had shut the door behind her and her sons, they kept bringing her containers, and she kept pouring. When they were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another container." But he replied, "There aren't any more." Then the oil stopped. She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go sell the oil and pay your debt; you and your sons can live on the rest."
Now I want us to stop for a second and think about a couple of things here.
First, the woman said she had nothing except a jar of oil. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been down and out before, but I’ve never been so down and out that all I had was some Crisco. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck, and had to rob Peter to pay Paul, and have had to humble myself and go to Dad and Mom and ask for some help, but I’ve never been so broke that all I had of any worth was one jar of oil. Now the oil here was valuable as it could be used for a variety of things, but one jar was not going to get anyone very far….or was it?
You see, no matter how little you or I have, if it is given for use by God, if it is offered up for the Lord, if we are willing to let go of what we have for Him and for the sake of the gospel, God will take it and multiply it and expand it far beyond what we could ever imagine.
Another thing we see is that she had to pour out the oil from her container into the other containers. God wants us to pour our lives into the lives of those around us. God wants us to give away our most valuable asset we have to those around us. No, I’m not talking about your house, your car, your 401K, or your computer…I’m talking about yourself. Your experience in walking with the Lord, your knowledge of the Word of God, your spiritual depth…He wants you to give it to others. The church is not to be a holy huddle, but an ambulance with a spiritual emergency kit to take to a lost and dying world. We are to be a lean, mean disciple making machine!
And lastly, notice that the widow told her son in the end:
"Bring me another container." But he replied, "There aren't any more." Then the oil stopped.
I think that often the reason we don’t see more of the Lord working in and around us, the reason we don’t have revival in our homes and in our churches and in our country, and the reason we don’t see the lost coming to Jesus all around us is that we are satisfied with far less than all.
Jesus doesn’t want much from you and I. Only all. Everything.
The oil flowed until they ran out of containers. What if they had held back a container or two? You know, the one they got from Grandma the last time they saw her…or that one that was special because it was from the widow’s childhood…or maybe the one that was won as a prize for the best oil at the county fair…or that one that is the collectible one - you know it’s worth a lot on eBay as long as it has never been used.
You see, we have all sorts of excuses as to why we don’t bring Jesus all of us. We like to have a little control here and there. We have our pet sins. We have no problem giving God a certain portion of our live, a certain amount of our time, a certain (10 %) amount of our money, but we feel free to do with the rest what we want.
And because we do not give all of our containers to God, we do not get all the oil that we could have.
When it comes down to it, we get all of Jesus that we really want. We get as much revival as we desire.
How much do you and I really want to see a mighty move of God across this land? How badly do we really want to see our loved ones come to know Jesus? How serious are we when it comes to our relationship with the Lord? The real question we must ask, is how full do we want to be? How full of Jesus do we want to be?
Are you, and I ready to give all of containers to God? Are willing to allow Him to fill them up completely with Him? Are we willing to say, “This is all I have Lord…and all I have is Yours.”?
Well, I cannot answer for you…but for me…well, I gotta go know. I think I have a few more containers in my closet that I need to find.