I am a creature of habit. Curious phrase, but I thought about it last week after reading ahead in The Story. I’m driving to work listening to music and thinking about the account in 2 Kings. Usually chapter 4 is titled “The Widow’s Olive Oil”. As I reached down to adjust the knob of the radio still contemplating this woman of the Old Testament, I connected – widow to widow. You probably think “What on earth does a story about olive oil have to do with my car radio?” First, read the few short verses and I’ll explain:
The Widow’s Olive Oil
4 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
7 She 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.”
Love, love, love this story of God’s provision and a woman’s faith, which is what I was mentally reviewing as I turned the volume knob on my radio. Here is a widow literally destitute; the creditors are after her sons as payment. Without a husband she has no financial standing. Her only asset is a small amount of olive oil and she cries out to the prophet Elisha for help. This scenario shows three outstanding characteristics of her spirit. Even in the midst of her pain and despair this humble woman identifies herself as a servant; secondly, she knows who can help and last she is faithful in her response.
Olive oil was an Old Testament commodity. It provided light, heat, food, medicine, perfume, but this widow had only a little. And then the miracle occurs. Funny how God works; some of the greatest provisions of His strength begin when there is the smallest amount of resource or faith. This woman took God at His word. She kept filling until there was no more. Would I have done that? I’m not certain.
Now back to my radio. I have buttons on my steering wheel, which allow me to adjust volume or music stations with just a press of the finger. But do I do that? No, force of habit has me reaching down with my right hand to adjust the radio. That’s the creature I am. I am comfortable with routine.
If I were the widow in Elisha’s time I may not have realized the impact of what was happening. I may have stopped after multiple jars were filled thinking, “Wow, this is enough, this is more than enough. I think I’ll quit now.” This is a comfortable amount. Don’t want to press my luck. My comfortable routine would doubt and rely on my on weak self – and I would have missed the miracle.
Our lady doesn’t do that. She provides such a beautiful example of trust, persistence and faithfulness until the little became more, until every container was filled and then there was no more.
What a story to learn and savor! Out of habit I may have judged the situation and tried to determine what was enough instead of realizing the source that is always with me; the source that provides. The source of comfort and assurance that my God knows what is best and how to provide it – in His time, His way, His method. I can’t make that judgment call. I simply need to accept it on faith.
Lord, forgive me for my routines. Thank you for each second that You provide for me “over and above”. You are so great and I am humbled by Your love. Amen