The beginning of the year is a time to dream. To set the bar high for the year ahead. The calendar is empty and holds endless possibilities for the opportunities that await the coming year.
To lose the weight.
To get out of debt.
To find a new job.
To develop an exercise routine.
However as January progresses, I have found that the urge to settle begins to creep in; the lure to compromise starts to tug on my ever-weakening will and resolve.
I begin to doubt.
I prepare to adjust my dream to more realistic standards.
I pull back and “trim my sails”.
I contemplate quitting and giving up.
I don’t know what dream God has placed in your heart for the coming year, but what I do know is that there will be obstacles placed in your way attempting you to abort your plans, give up hope and settle for something safer, more comfortable.
There is a woman in 2 Kings 4 who was experiencing the trial of her life. She approached Elisha, a man of God, and cried out in despair…
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” 2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” 2 Kings 4:1-2
Imagine her predicament. She had lost her husband and was now facing a dire financial situation as a single mom. To add to her grief and misery was the fearful possibility that she would lose those who were most precious to her – her sons.
Understandably, this woman had lowered her expectations and was burdened with need. She had acquiesced to the very real potential that she may lose two of her children.
She knew God – her husband had even served in the company of prophets! But grief, heartache and despair shrouded her life, dimming any ray of hope or glimmer of promise that circumstances would change.
Upon seeing Elisha, something sparked within her. Hope began breaking through and somewhere deep within in her heart her seed of faith prepared to bud…
3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” 5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” 2 Kings 4:3-7
Imagine the amazement the widow and her sons had while they witnessed this miracle of God’s provision. They gathered the empty jars and God faithfully and abundantly filled them all. They obeyed God, did the work required and God provided the oil.
What a great reminder for us. When your dreams are shattered and your hope begins to wane, when you’re tempted to lower your expectations and curb your enthusiasm, remember this faithful widow and consider these very practical actions modeled in this short passage.
- She knew Who to run to.
When you’re facing insurmountable obstacles to your dream remember that you serve a faithful God.
- She obeyed immediately.
Throughout the Bible we see an important truth illustrated over and over –
The Holy Spirit releases his power the moment you obey and take a step of faith. Your obedience unlocks God’s power.
Notice that the woman didn’t hesitate. She didn’t argue with Elisha. She did exactly what he told her to do immediately after he told her to do it. Faith believes that God will do what he says BEFORE it happens.
- God used what she already had.
Big moves of God are most often precipitated by our obedience in the small things. It requires hard work on our behalf. There is no easy road.
Faith is doing what you can do and trusting God to do what only He can do.
Where do you desire God’s “oil” this year? What are you asking him to do that only He can do? What’s your responsibility in order to see this happen? What “jars” do you need to find? What work will this require from you?