Dire Straits?


The story of the poor widow about to lose her children to debt collectors serves as a powerful reminder to God’s loving provision in our life, but also to our divine responsibilities during this life:

Trust: When she discovered her husband had left her with unpaid debts that could result in her children being taken away, she immediately sought help. However, it wasn’t just anyone she went to. It was the prophet, Elisha. She not only humbled herself to seek help, but she was wise enough to seek Godly counsel to her problems (2 Kings 4:1). Where we turn first in times of trouble is a powerful indicator of what we trust most. For us, is it other people, the government, or Christ (Psalm 40:4)?

Testimony: God’s blessings are always to be shared. Therefore, before God worked His miracle through Elisha, the woman was required to get others involved. She was to ask her friends and neighbors for their empty oil jars (2 Kings 4:3). Most likely those closest to her were aware of her problems and when she went knocking on their doors, some may have asked why she wanted their empty jars. This of course, opened the opportunity to share her hope and faith in God’s instruction. Likewise, we too have opportunities to share our testimonies with others, but we must first let go of our pride and/or doubts in order to do so (Palm 145:6).

Teach: Once the jars had been collected, the widow had to sacrifice her last bit of oil in order to receive the blessing. As she poured out all she had, God was faithful in filling every jar collected. Elisha was the vessel God used to strengthen trust, spread testimonies and teach on His power and provision (2 Kings 4:6-7). Like Elisha, we too have tremendous opportunities to help others by teaching them to obey and trust God (2 Timothy 3:16). However, to do so, we must also be pursuing God, filling ourselves with the wisdom of God and available to be used by God.

Application: “All In?” – Colossians 3:16-17
If the widow hadn’t been committed to God, she may have never pursued Godly counsel, much less been obedient to the sacrificial demands being given to her. Likewise, if Elisha hadn’t been fully committed to God, He would have never been available in the first place. Therefore, the opportunities for us are two fold – are we “all in” to be used by God, and are we “all in” in our obedience to God? If so, how many friends and family are we impacting through such faith? For like the widow, many around us are watching and have their own “jars of faith” for God to fill.

Lastly, although God was gracious and turned this dire situation for good, we must consider the widow’s husband. Even though he is mentioned as a follower of God, he left his family in a very desperate situation. Although his family knew to turn to God for help, could he have better managed their financial situation to secure their protection while he was living? We of course don’t know, but as we are living, may we always strive to be faithful stewards in all we do. For that too requires trust, provides testimonials and promotes teaching opportunities.

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