In my devotional time right now I’m reading “Live These Words” by my dear friend Lucinda (Cindy) Secrest McDowell. I was so challenged and encouraged by what she wrote in the chapter called “Pour.” I took lots of notes in my journal — and then I asked her if I could share this excerpt with you! Cindy asks:
If you were down to your last morsel of food and God asked you to give it to Him, would you do it?
It seems the less we have, the more we want to cling. In our economy, “almost nothing” is a desperate situation. However, in God’s economy, “almost nothing” can actually end up being “exactly enough.” But only if we do what He says.
One such woman who faced this dilemma was empty, with so many needs all around, and yet so little strength, money, time, and resources available to meet those needs. This widow’s story, found in II Kings 4.1-7, reveals that she has suffered a triple blow: her husband has died, the creditors are coming to take her children as slaves, and there is nothing in the house. She is grieving, fearful and destitute.
Are you experiencing loss, fear, or financial ruin? In the middle of such deprivation, do you believe that God can truly bring something out of nothing?
At just such a time of emptiness, the prophet Elisha comes into this woman’s home and asks how he can help: “What do you have in your house?”
And the widow answers “Your servant has nothing there at all, except… a small jar of olive oil.”
It’s almost as though the one thing she does have – the small jar of olive oil – is simply an afterthought because it seems so ordinary, so insignificant. And yet, it’s a start – a place for God, through His servant Elisha, to begin the miracle work.
I have often felt as though I had “nothing in the house” when it comes to what is needed for my daily life – hope, wisdom or answers. At such a time perhaps God most wants to hear… “I have nothing in the house except…..my willingness to be used, Lord.” In the midst of our dire need God makes His presence known, but also asks us to partner with Him in remedying the situation.
Are you empty? Do you wonder how you can possibly have enough or be enough for what is required from you?
Look at your resources – what has been provided instead of what has been withheld. God loves to take something small and multiply it into more. But in the process you may be asked to do some questionable things, such as… gathering more of nothing!
Elisha immediately told this woman to find as many empty jars as she could and take them home. Next he instructed her to take the one jar of oil and to pour it all out into a house full of empty containers. As she poured, there was always more – and every jar was filled. The impossible had become possible. God’s purposes for this widow’s life – to enable her to become financially stable in order to provide for her family – were accomplished as she sold the oil.
How do you feel when God asks you to take that last bit of energy, creativity or money and spend it just because He said to? What opportunity or challenge has required more than what you have? Were you tempted to say “I have nothing left!” –no more strength, no more hope, no more words, no more time…
Instead, will you remember the widow’s answer “nothing in the house… except” and will you take whatever small thing you do have, offer it up to God and allow Him to multiply it into an ‘impossible’ amount of more?
Selected from Day 5 in “Live These Words” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell ©2014
Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller who delights in weaving glimpses of grace and mercy into ordinary life situations. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary and Furman University, she has authored 11 books, including the new devotional “Live These Words – an active response to God.” She co-directs the New England Christian Writers Retreat and writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in Connecticut. Visit her website and blog at www.EncouragingWords.net and check out her other books on Amazon.
Today we’re giving away a copy of Live These Words from Cindy! Post a comment below — by midnight Wednesday 9/10/14 — to enter your name in the drawing!
UPDATE: Congratulations to Kristen! I drew your name out of the box! I’ll be sending the book to you next week! And thank you everyone for entering! If I get any extra copies from the publisher — sometimes they send more than one — I’ll do another drawing from these same entries :)