Summary: We all have a tendency to focus on what we do not have and hence what we cannot do. But the God who gave us life knows what we do not have. He is interested in what we do with what we have. Can we turn our attention to that?
We all have heard about the prosperity gospel and none of us sitting here actually like it. Well mostly. I might want to take a look at it if I can get my hands on that BMW next week, because of something the prosperity gospel promises. Right?
Jokes apart, we do realise that prosperity gospel is a dangerous mindset. But there is an even more dangerous mindset that can afflict us, and that mindset is the poverty mindset. Last week Pastor spoke about some poor people considering getting help as their right. Let us try and find out what poverty mindset is especially in the field of Christian Ministry.
If I ask you to take a few minutes and list out all the things you don’t have enough of, I am sure we all can come up with a decent list of things. The list might contain things like time, money, love, health , energy etc… If I become more specific and ask you to list out things that you don’t have enough of, because of which you are not doing enough ministry, the list might get shorter, and might contain items like talent, skills, knowledge, courage, time, freedom, faith etc., etc.
The fact is all of us worry about what we do not have. When we are asked to do something, the first thing that comes to our mind is what is it that we do not have that might prevent us from doing that task.
Let us look at the bible and see a few passages
1 Kings 17:8-12 (NKJV) Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you." So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink." And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand." So she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
The widow knew what she did not have. She was clear that what she had was little and she was prepared to have a last meal out of it and then peacefully die. She had little and the famine was not helping. She knew she did not have enough to spare for the prophet. Let us see what happens after that.
1 Kings 17:13-16 (NKJV) And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.' " So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.
Yes, God did a marvelous thing and replenished whatever she had. Her poverty turned to plenty because she was willing to offer what little she had for the man of God. But the blessings did not stop even there. Later on in 1 Kings 17:17-24 (NKJV) we see that the Lord raises up her son from the dead, and that miracle makes her testify 1 Kings 17: 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth."
What can we see from this story? The widow was first worried about how little she had. How she did not have enough for herself, let alone share it with the prophet. But when the widow willingly offers up that little to the Lord, we see the little , small offering of the widow being rewarded multiple times. When the focus changed from what she did not have to what could she do with what she had, it resulted in a great revelation and a great miracle.
A similar situation repeats in the life of Elisha who took over from Elijah. 2 Kings 4:1-2 (NKJV) A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves." So Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil."