Today we read the story of the woman with the flowing jar of oil. It’s a beautiful story and one worthy of our attention. The basic story is this: a widow has two sons and no money to pay her debts. The debt collector is on his way to take her two sons as slaves in payment of her debts, and all she has to give in their place is a jar with a little oil. She asks Elisha for help, and he tells her to get as many jars as possible and pour her little bit of oil in each. As she pours, the oil miraculously multiplies and she fills every jar. As soon as she runs out of jars, the miracle ends. She sells the oil, pays her debts and has enough to live on.
A Salvation Metaphor: Our sinfulness is a debt we cannot repay, and so the master of our sin, death, comes for us. And whatever we may have, our own righteousness or weekly attendance at church or money or power or reputation, like the oil none of it is enough to pay our debt. But then God intervenes. Through the miracle of Jesus death and resurrection, God pays our debt and gives so much that we can live forever on the bounty of His grace.
A Service Metaphor: When we turn to God for the power to bring His Kingdom here on earth through our teaching, our preaching, and our service to others, He provides all we need. But unfortunately, we usually ask way too little. We want the time to spend a few hours at a food bank or in worship or feeding the hungry. We ask for talent to help lead our church or family in worship. We ask for a $100 bonus so we can help support a mission at our church. But God wants us to do more. Like the jars the widow collected, we don’t prepare for all the blessing that God might give us. So when our small plans, our small requests are fulfilled, the miracle stops. But it doesn’t have to. It could keep going if we only had room in our plans, in our imagination, in our faith, for it to continue. When you ask God for help, ask big. He can fulfill our wildest dreams if they are dreams given by Him and utilized for His Kingdom