Summary: As we think about the trials, testing, and tasks we face, both in our church and personal lives, often we become disheartened feeling we have little to offer and what lies ahead is too great. But God will use our little in a great way if we will let Him.
When Little Is Much
“Then He said, ‘To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.’” - Mark 4:30-32
As we think about the trials, testing, and tasks we face, both in our church and personal lives, often we become disheartened feeling we have little to offer and what lies ahead is too great. But God will use our little in a great way if we will let Him. I want us to consider four times in the Bible when little was much as we look at a jar of oil, a small cloud, a snack pack, and one solitary life.
I. A Jar of Oil
A. 2 Kings 4:1 “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.”
B. The widow of most likely Obadiah was faced with a very difficult situation. Her husband had died and a creditor was coming to take her two sons from her. She had no source to pay her debts or of getting out of their problem without God’s help. Her situation appeared hopeless
C. According to the Old Testament Law, a person in debt and without the means of repayment or collateral could be forced into bondage as a servant (or his sons) until the year of Jubilee. The sons would have to work off their father’s debt.
D. She appeals for help. – How often we stew in our hopelessness ignoring James warning “you do not have because you do not ask” and the command of our Savior to “Ask”.
E. 2 Kings 4:2a “So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” Elisha asks her “what do you want God to do for you through me?”
• We need do ask ourselves, what does God want us to do for others through us.
F. 2 Kings 4:2b “...she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
• She knew what she didn’t have but she also knew what she did have. Some of you probably think that you have nothing at all but in actuality, everyone has something.
• “Oil in Palestine, during Elisha’s time, was used both as a luxury and as a
necessity. Oil was used as to anoint the body, cooking and in burial preparations.
• She had NOTHING – but a jar of oil.
G. 2 Kings 4:3-4 “Then he said, "Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors – empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones."
• She had to step out on faith
• Matthew 17:20 “So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
• The number of empty vessels brought into the house showed the woman’s faith, obedience, and her submission to God and His promise to her through the prophet.
H. 2 Kings 4:5 “So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out.”
• She had to obey
• The key issue here is to obey, even when it doesn’t make sense and when it’s not easy to do so
• Matthew 9:29 “According to your faith let it be to you.”
I. 2 Kings 4:6-7 “Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”
• God’s supply would be and was as large as her faith and obedience, without greediness.
• If we find that the supply of God stops, then either the need has been supplied according to His will, or there are no more empty vessels.