One of my favorite stories in the bible is the story of the widow’s oil. In this scripture, after the death of her husband, the widow no longer had income. She needed to make a payment on an outstanding loan. Because she had no money, the creditors threatened to take her sons to work as slaves. The widow called on Elisha, the prophet for help. Now, let’s take a step back. Elisha the prophet, had previously received a double portion of Elijah’s spiritual mantle and had performed many miracles in the name of God. The widow knew his reputation. I am not surprised she asked him for help. Elisha could have very easily “poofed” provision and taken care of the widow and her sons. However, what he did was even more powerful. He said ““What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have [of value] in the house?” In that one question, “…what do you have [of value] in the house?”, he caused her to think about what she already possessed. Let’s be clear, her response was not an “ah-ha” moment. The widow’s response was pretty lackadaisical. “She said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a [small] jar of [olive] oil.” Even in her response, she clearly did not value even the little she had. But God!
Elisha gave the widow specific instructions. Go borrow containers from all of your neighbors. After the gathering, go inside the house with your sons and shut the door behind you. The sons continued to give her containers as she poured the oil, from the small jar of olive oil. The oil from that small jar, that did not seem like enough earlier, flowed until there were no more containers. The widow was then able to sell the oil, pay her debt, and live on the rest.
What is the key takeaway of this story? We already have within us what is necessary to meet the need. With obedience and faith, God will multiply our “little” and produce an abundance “pressed down, shaken together, and running over.”