Empty Vessels, Borrowed Vessels, Full Vessels
The story about the widow’s oil in 2 Kings chapter 4 is one of my favourites from the Old Testament.
It talks about empty vessels
and full vessels
Vessels that saved a woman’s children from slavery
Here’s the story
A widow is in debt up to her eyeballs and the creditor has tried to phone her, email her, send letters in the post about paying back the debt, and now he’s on his way to her house, determined to get back what this woman owes.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite like that
But you can feel this widow’s pain
Not only has this woman lost her husband, she is now faced with the grim reality that the creditor is coming, and he’s taking her two sons as payment
In fact, he’s taking her two sons to be his slaves
The widow cries out, desperate for God to intervene
Enter the Prophet, Elisha, on his white horse
(Cue epic music)
Elisha says to the widow, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
Don’t you just love that opening line of Elisha’s?
“What can I do for you?”
You can imagine the widow feeling a glimmer of hope in her hopeless situation
Elisha, the Prophet, had come to her rescue
(Cue more epic music, with Elisha climbing down from his white horse, his hair flowing in the breeze)
I’ll continue with the real story…
The widow says to Elisha, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
Then Elisha said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbours – empty vessels; do not gather just a few.”
Maybe the widow thought the sun had got to Elisha after riding through the dessert plains on his white horse
She’d already told him that she has nothing in the house
Except a jar of oil
A jar of oil that can fill empty, borrowed vessels
When you start to pour yourself into other people, you will see amazing things start to happen
But Satan doesn’t want you pouring your oil into empty vessels
He doesn’t want you borrowing your neighbours empty vessels and filling them up with the love of God
Borrowing a vessel, means you’ll be giving it back at some point in time to your neighbour
And when you give it back, it won’t be empty, it will be full
Satan wants you to hide your jar of oil and keep it all to yourself
After all, that’s all you have
With a little faith, God can supernaturally increase your oil, but only when you start pouring it into empty, borrowed vessels
The ‘creditor’ is coming to take people as his slaves
And if you start believing that your little jar of oil can fill empty, borrowed vessels, then Satan is in trouble.
So we need to start pouring!
I know what you’re thinking
Pouring yourself out to other people all the time sounds completely exhausting
Yes, it is
If you’re doing it in your own strength
But Elisha told the widow that when she had collected all the empty, borrowed vessels she had to shut the door behind her
Shut the door and spend time with God
Give Him your jar of oil and watch what He does with it
Shut the door on the critics
Telling you that you’re crazy to ever believe that your jar of oil could multiply and fill all the other vessels up
Elisha told the widow to “set aside the full ones”
When you’ve poured your oil into empty vessels, you set them aside
Because they are full
The oil needed to be poured out again
The borrowed vessel is given back and the oil will be poured out somewhere else
You see, that’s how it works
You fill up empty, borrowed vessels with your jar of oil
And then those vessels start pouring out into other empty, borrowed vessels
I’m sure God loves Maths
Because He is into multiplying
And you know what happened to the widow?
She was debt free!
The ‘creditor’ had no right to take her sons as slaves now
Because she believed that God could use her little jar of oil to change her situation for the better
MykDecember 15, 2016
Great insight Wendy!