Summary: Take a moment with this widow and learn SOMETHING about NOTHING...it will mean EVERYTHING to you! Link included to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Presentation.
Running on Empty
Do you clean your plate? At a restaurant, do you feel compelled to suck down your soda before you leave and get the last bit you paid for? Do you scrape out that one ravioli stuck in the can? How about cereal or soup, do you tip up the bowl and drink down the last bit? Whether your answer is yes or no, I guarantee you would if you were starving or literally dying of thirst!
In our text...
A man died / left wife penniless / she had no husband / money / food / income / government program to apply to / no prospects for improvement.
All she had was 2 sons, and the creditors were about to come take them as slaves (the law allowed for this).
She had one more thing: a little pot of oil. Every other pot in the house was empty / vessel / jar / cupboards / pockets / purse.
In her emptiness / nothingness, she went to the Prophet Elisha…and she learned something about nothing! / what God can do w/ an empty vessel!
v. 3 “empty” is the key word in this story.
The prophet did not tell her to go try and borrow food from neighbors / oil (like money back then) / money / get a loan…he said to go and borrow as many empty jars as possible.
It was like the Prophet Elisha was saying, lady, you’ve got a lot of emptiness in your life…but not enough emptiness! So gather together some more emptiness, go back to your empty house / empty cupboards, and close the door behind you and those 2 boys that are about to be “emptied” out of your house, and I want you to see what God can do w/ emptiness.
The story continues: she set out all those empty jars and vessels, took her little jar of oil and poured it into one of the empty jars. It was filled full, and yet her little jar wasn’t empty. She filled the 2nd / 3rd / 4th / many more? Finally, she said, hand me another, and her son said, that’s it, there’s no more emptiness!
Notice what happened when there was no more emptiness…
v. 6b “stayed”= “stopped flowing”
Primary interpretation is how God meets the material and financial needs of His people (He’s never once failed / never will…for He’d be a liar if He ever didn’t meet your needs as He’s promised)!
But let’s make a spiritual application from this story:
Premise: If you are not experiencing God’s presence in your life, it may be that you’re not “empty” enough! We serve a Lord that specializes in filling emptiness!
In creation He flung the universe into an expanse of emptiness / He hung the stars upon nothing (He turned nothing into something, then hung it on nothing!)
Jn. 6—empty stomachs (likely 15,000 plus)
4 plans offered:
1. Disciples said, let’s just get rid of the problem…tell them to go away
Jesus said, that’s not it, they’ll faint on the way home…they’re running on empty.
2. Phillip said, let’s raise the money. He did some figuring and found it would take 200 days’ wages to buy enough bread. (money’s not the solution to every problem…it can’t buy everything! House / not a home; bed / not good night’s sleep; medicine / not health; beautiful church bldg. / not the power of God!)
3. Andrew found little boy w/ small lunch, and said, it’s not much, but it’s a start!
4. Jesus had the true solution as he took the little boy’s lunch and demonstrated that little is much when God is in it!
In all 4 gospels, Jesus gave thanks prior to even breaking the bread…showing the multitudes that only God can fill their emptiness!
We serve a Lord that specializes in filling emptiness!
In Jn. 2 He filled some empty wash pots…at a wedding feast, a village event that the whole city came out for in those days. There was a festive mood until the unthinkable happened: the host ran out of wine and the people began to scurry about, whispering about the problem, until the whole crowd knew and the host was embarrassed!
The Lord let them scramble for a while before bringing the solution…He allowed them to feel their emptiness / inadequacy…He waited until they ran out of options, and then He took empty water pots, filled them w/ water, and then worked the miracle!
And the joy that the world has to offer is just temporary…it always runs out, the result is always a void left over…emptiness. But the joy of the Lord is ever new and ever satisfying!
The world offers you its best at first…until you get hooked, and then it’s all downhill from there.