If you are anything like me, in addition to your actual to-do list, you have things you just need to do. They seem urgent at times, but not pressing. They nag at you from time to time. What am I talking about? Well, my back hedges need to be trimmed, but they’re not in the front yard, so they wait. The carpet needs to be cleaned, but I would have to get quotes, get on someone’s schedule, and move all this furniture…ugh! I wrote a novel in 2020…it’s basically finished, but it needs to be formatted, the cover needs to be finalized, and…it’s just going to take some work. I need to lose weight - and that needs no explanation. I pray about these things, but if my prayer is not accompanied by some steps, no progress is made.
2 Kings 4 begins with the story of a widow who is distressed. Her deceased husband’s creditor informed her that he would take her two sons as slaves to pay off the debt. She went to the prophet Elisha to ask what she should do. Elisha asked her what she had. She said she had nothing except a little bit of olive oil. He told her to go to all of her friends and neighbors to ask for all the empty jars they had available. She was told to fill the jars with olive oil.
Now, when she said she only had a little bit of olive oil, I envisioned that to be like a cupful, or so, not enough to fill jars and jars. That’s where the power of God took over! She and her sons filled jar after jar after jar and when they filled the last jar, Then the oil stopped flowing. 7She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” (v. 6-7)
There is no indication that the widow initially had enough olive oil for a sale, but when she was obedient and went through the steps, the process, the Lord multiplied the oil. He blessed their efforts. She and her sons were able to achieve the goal of paying off the debt, so her sons did not become slaves and they had enough money that they didn’t need to borrow from anyone else. God multiplied her efforts. He multiplied the oil! She had limited means, but He is not limited. She had faith AND did the work.
Someone may read this passage and wonder why the Lord solved the woman’s problem in this way when, as we read in Scripture, His power is unlimited. Maybe you wonder why when she returned home that the olive oil had not been turned into the exact amount of money needed to pay the creditors. Maybe you wonder why Elisha didn’t send the woman home with the amount of money she needed in her hand. Asking questions such as this reveals our lack of faith. God does things the way He decides to do them because He is God. He is sovereign. Maybe there’s something He needs to teach us as we go through the process. Maybe He reveals the steps to us to give us a testimony we can share with someone else who might grow to know Him through following the steps He, years ago, revealed to you! I’ve been through many processes in my years and each has served to make me stronger. James 1:2-4 says we are to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Why would we think God would spare us the steps, the process? Who are we to be spared the process? Jesus Christ, Himself, was not spared the process. He faced trials and temptations on earth. He suffered on earth. He endured a torturous death on the cross. He went through the process to give all of us, me and you, a testimony. Jesus went through the process so we could have eternal life. You nor I will be spared the process. We must pray and be quiet so we can hear the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit as he reveals to us the steps of the process.
What steps, what process do you need to go through? You’ve been praying about it and every morning you wake up and the problem is still there. What are you worrying about, yet taking no steps towards change? What is it in your life that needs to change, but you just don’t have the energy, the means, the time, to go through the process? Well, until we go through the process, we remain status quo. If the status quo is okay, then stop praying about it. If you really want the change, start the process and let the Lord see you through. Amen.
A few more Scriptures to leave you with for the week:
The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.