Monday, April 20, 2015

Soul Sister Series #11, The Empty Woman

She awoke to the now familiar dread. It had tormented her unceasingly for weeks. She knew what this day would bring. Another day to face the hounding creditors, to flinch at the knock of the door. Another gut wrenching disappointment when the expected money did not arrive. 

She rose and gazed at her two sons. Denial had not allowed the painful reality to linger in her mind. She shoved the unwelcome intruder away again and again. 

It came forcefully this time. She allowed it to stay, and bravely looked at it full in the face. It was time to accept what she had to do. 

Her husband left many debts when he died. Everything she could live without was sold. Yet it was not enough. There was only one thing left to sell.

As she gazed at her sons, a sob began to overtake her. The creditors would be coming any day now to take them away. The debt would be paid by their slavery. 

She had done all that she could do, and still it wasn’t enough. She was exhausted to the bone, yet not ready to concede the struggle to save her family. 

It would take a miracle. Certainly she was familiar with the moving of God. Her husband was a prophet. She’d witnessed the awesome power of God at work through his life. This was a desperate situation, only Divine intervention could save her family now. 

She thought of Elisha, the greatest of the prophets. She decided then to go and find him. Like a death grip she clung to this hope. It was her last chance to save her family. 

Yet when she found him and told her story, his question perplexed her. 

“What do you have in your house?” 

“I have nothing there at all.”

Indeed she had nothing. There was nothing valuable left. She was bankrupt. 

Have you ever felt like this woman? Bone dry empty, with nothing left to give. Nothing in your house, nothing in your life of any significance or of any value. 

I have certainly been there. Many times when I minister to others I feel my weaknesses and inadequacies so strongly; it feels almost foolish to try. I truly feel that I have nothing to give. It seems much safer to keep what I do have, rather than give it away. 

I have felt drained to the core. One more demand, one more pull at my vessel will surely take me over the edge. Just place me back on the shelf, thank you. 

So I remain on the shelf, collecting dust, growing stale and sour. Pour myself out? Impossible when you have nothing to begin with. Yet are we truly as empty as we feel? Or is it a matter of hoarding what we do have? Is there something there that goes beyond our inadequacies? 

“What do you have in your house?”

“I have nothing except a little oil.”

“Then you have enough. We’ll start with that.”

What Elisha told her to do seemed quite foolish. Gather all the empty jars she could and pour out her precious oil? Oh, she could have talked herself right out of this blessing. She needed this oil for herself. Besides she can’t bug her neighbors for their empty jars. How would that look? 

She could have frittered away the hours wondering is this truly was God, if perhaps Elisha misunderstood…or maybe she heard wrong. But she didn’t waver or hesitate. She instantly obeyed. 

After gathering all the jars she could, she and her two sons went into the house and closed the door. Was there a moment of uncertainty when she held up her precious jar of oil and gazed at all the empty jars? Any lingering doubt was overtaken by her bold faith, as she began to pour the oil. 

Three heads stooped to watch as the oil reached the brim. Yet the jar in her hand still had oil. 

“Bring me another one, quickly.” 

She kept pouring and pouring, and the oil kept flowing. “Is there another one?” 

“No there isn’t anymore.” Only then did it stop its miraculous flow. 

Perhaps she regretted not gathering more jars. Yet she had enough to pay off her debts and keep her beloved sons. There was income left over to live on. 

This woman had an incredible faith, pouring out of her need, her emptiness. She thought she had nothing in the house, but God, the All-Sufficient One proved otherwise. It doesn’t matter what you start with, if God is in the equation, you’ll always have more than enough. Many empty jars will be filled from one little pot of oil. 

What do you have in your house?”

“I have nothing…except a little oil.”

“Then you have enough, we’ll start with that.”

Pour out what you have and watch God bless and multiply it. Empty lives will be filled and ministered to. 

A boy with a box lunch of five barley loaves and two fish…How far will that go among so many? It is enough, we’ll start with that. His box lunch fed over five thousand people. He could have looked at his lunch and thought, why even bother? It is so insignificant. What can Jesus do with this? 

Isn’t that the point? Not I don’t know what He can do with this? But, wow, watch what He does with this! Stand aside and watch the miraculous happen. What we by faith take our oil and start pouring, He in turn pours back into us. It is a continual flow. And He gives extravagantly. 

It’s the gift that keeps giving. Our own needs are supplied, and those we have poured into overflow into praise to God. 

There are many empty jars around you. Don’t close yourself up. Don’t be satisfied with a shelf life. You have something valuable to give. It’s the anointing, the presence of Almighty God. Fill those empty lives.

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