Except A Little

elijahA couple of months back, my wife found herself in 2 Kings 4 reading through a somewhat well-known story about Elisha and the widow with the oil (your Bible probably has some subheading entitled The Widow’s Oil). We had had some financial strain at the time and, interestingly enough, as she was seeking God, my wife found herself at this passage on this particular day.

Specifically, in vs2, Elisha asked the woman what she has in her house, to which she replied:

Your servant has nothing there at all except a little oil.

Knowing the situation of our church and our own pocket book, she sensed this story being used right then and there as a ‘two-edged sword’, sinking deep within the heart. I can’t remember if she emailed me or called me to share the passage, but I took it as an encouragement, but nothing ‘life-changing’ at the time.

But, interestingly enough, the financial situations have not really changed. And, as we were with our friends (church leaders) this past weekend in the UK, sharing about how things were going, my wife shared this passage again. Immediately my friend responded with, ‘This is the word of the Lord.’

Now, for those who are not too keen on charismatic churches, there could possibly be some rolling of the eyes. But I know we weren’t flippantly playing around with Scripture. God had taken what was His, His word, and used it as a two-edged sword into our specific situation right then and there. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. It was the prophetic reality of Scripture speaking into where we were at. We had nothing in our house (or houses)……‘except a little.’

Well, most of us probably know the ending of the story, but if you don’t, here it is: Elisha had said go borrow some jars from your neighbours, but don’t just borrow a few. She was able to fill to the brim every one of the jars. And she not only had enough to sell to pay her debts, but she had extra!

So, here I am these past few days praying this passage, chewing on this passage, pondering its message, and looking to be faithful even with the little we have. I’m thinking faithful stewardship, generous with the little we have, prayer, and then when we have prayed enough, pray even more.

But, in pondering this passage, I am beginning to see my understanding of God opened a little more in that He is one who is very good at taking the little we have and doing a whole lot. I’m thinking the fish and loaves, I’m thinking the seed that yielded much fruit, I’m thinking the mustard seed that became a tree, etc.

Yeah, God’s kinda good at that.

So, I’ve only got a little oil. As frail and fallen human beings, we only have a little. But the one who is faithful before God with a little can and will be entrusted with a lot (e.g. Matthew 25:21; Luke 16:10). For we are dealing with the one who is able to do……wait, I get ahead of myself.

Ok, this is where that amazing promise comes in via Paul:

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Father, your servant has nothing there at all except a little…

Help us be faithful with the little we have, and take it and multiply beyond what we could ask or think.

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