During the lockdown, there has been several times I have noticed my son Jeremiah to be bored although he has lots of toys in his room. Sometimes, telling him to go and play with his toys could even seem to him like a punishment, whereas I would have loved to hear my dad say that to me when I was his age. A new toy grabs his attention and affection for a few days, and then it is no longer interesting.
In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we read of a widowed prophet’s wife who came to Elisha for help. The bread winner (her husband) was dead and had left behind some debt that needed paying. The bailiffs had been sent to take her sons to labour as slaves to pay back their debt, and the poor widow was desperate for help. Elisha was a prophet and not a businessman who may have had some cash at hand to help her. So, he asked the woman, what have you in the house? The only thing the widow could find was a jar of oil, meaning, she had perhaps sold all she had and was still unable to pay back the debt. The jar of oil seemed to be the least valuable thing in the house, but that was enough to pay all her debt and turn her life around.
Similar to the feeding of the 5000 (Matt 14:13-22), and the feeding of the widow and her son during the famine (1 Kings 17:7-16), all God needs is the little or insignificant thing (gift, ability, vision etc.) you may feel you have. In all of these examples, what was required was the faith and obedience to trust God with the little they had. The five loaves of bread and two fish, the small oil and flour that wasn’t even enough for three people, and here, a jar of oil that was left to a family.
Sometimes, just like my son, we may look to new things to find happiness and contentment and overlook the blessings we already have. We may even seek things beyond ourselves because of a sense of inadequacy or unworthiness to be used by God. But just like Elisha said to the widow, “what do you have…”?
Whatever the Lord has given to you, in gifts and ability, it is sufficient when you place it in the hands of the God who is able to use it to bless others and bring glory to His name.