Pouring it out, 2 Kings 4:1-7
Eric A. Snyder
August 18, 2002
Top 10 signs you’re broke
10. American Express calls and says: "Leave home without it!"
9. You’re formulating a plan to rob the food bank.
8. Long distance companies don’t call you to switch.
7. You rob Peter...and then rob Paul.
6. You finally clean your house, hoping to find change.
5. You think of a lottery ticket as an investment.
4. Your bologna has no first name.
3. Sally Struthers sends you food.
2. McDonalds supplies you with all your kitchen condiments.
1. At communion you go back for seconds
some one recently said
“The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.”
A man was once boasting to an acquaintance, "We have a whole room full of furniture from France that goes back to Louis the 14th." "That’s nothing," replied the other. "We’ve got a whole house full of furniture from Sears that goes back to Harry on the first."
Personal debt in the U.S. is increasing at the rate of $1000 per second and consumer installment debt has mushroomed to a point where it takes approximately $1 out of every $4 that consumers earn after taxes to keep up the payments--not including the home mortgage. For over 250,000 Americans, the burden of debt is so great that he/she declares bankruptcy. There are even more serious consequences of this financial tension created by debt: 56% of all divorces are a result of financial tension in the home
Young Families in Debt: Spending habits of young married couples with children (both spouses 18 to 25): Average after-tax income, $19,783. Average annual spending, $21,401. (They are spending around 8% more than they make.
Living in debt can be devastating. In fact because of the level of debt that we have incurred over the last 10 years, new agencies have sprung up. You see them all the time, companies that are designed to help you get out of debt.
The temptation to spend on credit is our biggest temptation as a nation. So we end up putting it on the credit card or buying the vehicle we can’t afford. Then we end up living with the anxiety of knowing that we owe someone money. And it just snowballs into effect. We have to work extra hours or pick up a second job to pay our debts. Then before we know it our family is distant or even ripped apart because of our financial situation.
Our story today is about a family that lost it’s major income provider and the man had creditors. The wife was frustrated and didn’t know what to do. So she enlisted the help of a prophet.
I love this story because the prophet offers help but he says “How can we use what you have to fix this problem?”
At the end of the story she went from a woman was able to live on the abundance of God’s blessings.
I don’t know about you but that’s where I want to be.
I want to live on the overflow of God’s blessings.
She went from having creditors to being a credit to the kingdom of God
She went from debt to donations
The message of this text is clear “God provides for those who obey Him”
But for some in this room we are not in financial troubles. Some here today are spiritually bankrupt. Some are emotionally bankrupt and you have been living your lives paying for the sins of your past. Some in this room have experienced the bankruptcy that goes beyond what money can define. Maybe your insides have been eaten out our your family in turmoil because of some kind of debt in your life.
Our text today is from 2 kings and the story is quite clear that the level of debt this family had incurred was about to destroy this family.
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 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 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."
God wants to pour out his blessings on you, but you have to be willing to pour out of what you have first.
"A widow came to the prophet named Elisha and said, ’Elisha, you remember my husband was a man who really loved God but he died. All of the creditors are beating down my door and they are going to take my sons and make them slaves.’" Look at verse two. Elisha said to her, "What do you have?" This woman was living with a debit mentality. Notice what she said. "I don’t have anything at all except a little oil." Her focus is on the limitations of her resources rather than the unlimited resources of God.
How many of us are living in fear and not allowing God to stretch us to the next level because we are focused on the scarcity of our own resources rather than focusing on the unlimited resources of God. To expand your influence you have to expand your capacity. So in verse three Elisha tells her, "Go around and ask all of your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few." He’s saying you have to expand your capacity for God and you have to enlarge your receptacles.
Enlarge your capacity for faith for what God wants to provide through you. Don’t ask for just a few. Don’t limit yourself. Do what God wants to do. Notice what faith is. She has to go out and find a bunch of empty jars. Can you imagine going to the neighbors’ houses saying, "Give me some empty jars?" You have to expand your capacity to increase your influence for God. Faith is a concrete action. It is not holding to a belief in your head. It is a concrete action. In verse four, Elisha asked her to, "Take the oil that you have and begin pouring your oil in all the many jars." "But I just have a little oil."
What do you have to do before you see the return of God in your life? Risk the investment, stretch your investment. Take the oil that you have. God doesn’t ask you to take that which you don’t have. God asks you to take what you have and begin to pour. As long as the woman kept bringing, God kept giving. As long as the woman kept pouring, God kept filling.
In verse six, she brings her jars and Elisha asked her to bring another one. She’s back to debit mentality and she said, "There’s no more left." What happened to the oil? The oil stopped. The moment we quit bringing, the moment we quit pouring, God quits giving.
Look at verse 7. Elisha said, "Go and sell the oil you have and God will provide for you and your son." Wait a minute. Most folks live above their means so they have nothing left to be a source of blessing for God’s purpose in the lives of other people. But the widow is living at her means. She has enough for herself and her sons.
But I only get one life. I don’t want just enough for me and mine. I want some for your kids. I want some for your children’s children. I want some blessings for people in South Africa. I’m going to get more jars! As long as we keep bringing, God keeps filling. As long as we keep pouring, God keeps giving.
As a church we are ready to keep bringing in the Jars so that the ministry can expand
3 keys that helped this woman beat debt, This woman needed to stop thinking with a debt mindset.
You say wait a minute, what is the debt mindset?
Well it’s basically where you can never see beyond your debt.
I could say what are you going to do after you pay off your credit cards and some would give me blank stares. I could say what are you going to do after you pay off your car and some would say well I don’t know I guess I’d trade it in and buy a newer car.
As Americans we have chosen to many times be debt minded instead of the alternative.
See I know that times are kind of tough but I also know one thing. Unless you can see beyond your world of debt you will always place yourself back in it.
Perhaps some of you are in a debt mindset, and you can’t see the possibilities of what lies beyond your debt.
But this woman was able to life on the abundance of God blessing her. And even in the middle of it all she still had a debt mentality.
Did you know that many people who win or inherit large sums of money are poor within 10 years. The key is to get out of the view that says “I am always going to be in debt”
Here are the 3 things that helped this woman beat her debt
1. Taking inventory of your resources
2. Asking for help
3. Doing exactly what God says
When you are freed from the debt monster your life will be so much richer. And you will be able to use your resources in a way that will fulfill you and glorify God.
Mike Slaughter, minister of a church in Ohio says that when we can see beyond our level of debt. When we start living out of obedience as opposed to living out of our appetite we become people who effect the lives of other people for God.
“we made a commitment to live out of discipline and obedience to the authority of Jesus Christ - not our appetites. Some of you were tempted this week - zero interest rates on cars for up to 60 months! So we say I need one of those new Chevy trucks! An Avalanche! If you need a car and it’s the right time financially to get a car, it might be real smart to get a car right now. But my car only has 100,000 miles on it, and I’ve got to be a blessing. I live - not by my appetite and what I want - but as a disciple under discipline who is honoring God as I bless others.”
It’s hard to be a blessing when we are paying high interest rates and difficult finance charges. But when we do so we expand the area of our influence.
I don’t know where you are today. You may be frustrated financially because one thing keeps breaking after another. Or you may be someone who has been beat down over time and you are just making it from one check to the next.
Your debt may not even be financial, It could be a memory that you keep reliving. But wherever you are today one thing is clear from scripture.
We were all once in the deep debt of sin. And the Bible says that Jesus paid the price. He paid the penalty, He bought out your eternal creditor. And Satan was not coming just for your kids. He was coming for you. He was coming for your whole family. Your relationships got rocks and when all that was happening Jesus took your debt and paid it all
He went to a rugged cross and took your payment for a lifetime of disobedience. So we acknowledge that we have lived by disobedience before.
The question before you today is: will you begin a life of discipline and obedience now?