Wheelbarrows and Tankers

2 Kings 4:5-6 “So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing the vessels to her and she poured. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’ And he said to her, ‘There is not one vessel more.’ And the oil stopped.”

Observation: This widow’s sons were about to be taken from her by creditors who were pressing legitimate claims following the death of her husband. Elisha had told her to borrow vessels from her neighbors, and to then begin pouring into them her small supply of oil. As she began pouring, what little oil she had became much.  Her small treasure of oil filled every vessel she had borrowed, and then the oil stopped.

Application: At least two kingdom principles are illustrated in this story. First, she had enough faith for basic obedience; she indeed borrowed vessels and she began pouring. But one wonders why she had not borrowed more vessels? Did she come to regret having “some” faith, enough to borrow just “some” vessels, but not having enough faith to borrow all the jars and wheelbarrows and tankers in the county? How did the limits of her faith limit the extent of God’s miracle in her behalf? 

Second, this incident is also a wonderful reminder that God creates out of nothing. I tend to look at my need—more income to pay the bills, or larger-than-ever pledges to build a church—and I can’t imagine the need being met precisely because in my humanness I believe that a generous supply always costs me more. If I want more income, I must work harder or longer or smarter. If I want to give more generously, it’s going to be at the expense of my retirement security or some other thing I have been saving for. 

But His provision is never met at my expense; it does not depend upon my efforts. After all, I am supposed to have already surrendered everything. When He supplies, there is always more than before. I should remember this when my needs loom large, whether needs for my daily life or my desire to respond when God calls me to be “impossibly” generous. When He supplies He goes far and above what I could have imagined. If it were otherwise, it would not have been a miracle, and God’s hand would not have been required. Do I really want to respond just out of my own strength and resources or out of God’s?

Prayer: Father God, You who created out of nothing all I can see or imagine, I want to live in a way that increases my reliance upon You. Convict me of wrong when my human calculus is about to limit my response to what You have called me to do. O creator God, pour Your abundance before me. The work is Yours.  The effort is Yours. To You be the glory!

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