Summary: What can you bring to help build God’s kingdom? Bring what you have, bring what is available and bring what is empty.
A WIDOWS OIL
How much is a bar of iron worth? A plain bar of iron is worth $5. The same bar of iron if made into horse shoes would be worth $50. If it were made into needles, it would be worth $5,000. If it were made into balance springs for fine Swiss watches, it would be worth $500,000. The raw material is not as important as how it’s developed. God says we have spiritual gifts, but their worth to Him will be dependent on how we use and develop them.
2 Kings 4:1 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 little oil." 3 Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbours 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 afterward 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."
During an interview, Bud Wilkinson, coach of a number one college football team, was asked “What contribution does professional sports make to the physical fitness of Americans?” His answer was unsurprisingly “very little.” He added, “A professional football game is happening where 50,000 spectators, desperately needing exercise, sit in the stands watching 22 men on the field desperately needing rest!” The church should not be like this.
“A Christian who does not have a ministry is a contradiction of terms” - John MacArthur
Jesus is building His church and He is looking for men and women who will join with him in the construction. Perhaps you are thinking to yourself “what part do I play in building the church? What can I bring to help?” You can bring 3 things:
1. Bring what you have (vs. 1-2) -
This widow had been the wife of a prophet who had died. She had reached the end of her rope and had nothing left. She was so poor her sons were being sold into slavery. She cried out to Elisha and he asked what she had in the house. Isn’t that a little strange? Instead of asking what she WANTED he asked what she HAD. He then took what she had and multiplied it.
This is how the Lord often works in our lives. Sometimes we can come to him and ask Him to make us something which we are not. We ask to be another Billy Graham or Hudson Taylor. He asks us to give what we already have so that He can multiply it and use it for the kingdom.
Everyone excels in something in which another fails. -- Latin Proverb
John 6 - Feeding the 5000. What do you have to offer the Lord. What has God already given you that you can give to him to multiply for His service?
The problem with the church is that, “few of us really know our strengths. The great teachers, and great leaders, recognize their strengths and focus on them.” -- Peter Drucker
A man was sitting on his porch in the Southern USA. He recently retired from the post office, and he’s sitting there when his first Social Security check is delivered. He’s very, very discouraged. He thinks to himself, "Is this what life is going to be from now on--sitting on the porch waiting for my check to arrive?" He decided he wouldn’t settle for that, and so he made a list of all of the things he had going for him all the blessings and the capacities, the unique things that were in him. The list was long because he listed everything he could think of and in the list was the fact that he was the only person on earth who knew his mother’s recipe for fried chicken. It used eleven different herbs and spices. So he went to a nearby restaurant and asked if he could cook the chicken, and they said yes. It soon became the most popular item on the menu. So he opened his own restaurant, and then others, and a string of restaurants. Eventually Harland Sanders sold the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise across all of America. He finally retired a second time (all this happened, you remember, after he had retired from the postal service), and he continued in the service of the company as a public relations representative for a quarter of a million dollars a year till his death.