I recently asked a significant favor of several friends and colleagues. My request felt large and so I hedged, apologized, suggested a couple shortcuts they might take to fulfill my request…maybe, if it’s convenient, if it’s not too much trouble. But then, abundance. My request was met with joyful yeses, more support than I could have imagined. It was an excess of grace, drowning the fear of scarcity that had filled my heart.
In 2 Kings 4:1-7, one of the prophets from Elisha’s company of prophets has died, leaving behind a wife and two sons. As was typical, the widow had no way to provide for herself and creditors were threatening to take her sons as payment for her debt. Her fear is palpable. She sees no good future possible. In her desperation she turns to Elisha for help.
Elisha acts quickly, and insists the widow do the same. Gather all the jars you can from your neighbors and pour what little oil you have left into them. Lest she act out of her fear of scarcity, Elisha explicitly instructs her, “Don’t ask for just a few.”
The widow and her sons obey. The oil flows from her small jar, filling every single available container in the neighborhood. The woman can now sell the oil to pay her debts and her living expenses.
“Don’t ask for just a few.” The widow’s expectations were continued scarcity, just barely scraping by. She had no imagination for the abundance God wanted to pour into her life. God was not hindered by her stunted imagination, and filled her life to overflowing. Her future was secure because of the abundance of God.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matt. 7:9-11)
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Grace and Peace.