John Rockefeller once explained the secret of success – ‘Get up early, work late – and strike oil.’ I’m sure we’d all like to be able to follow that advice.
There’s a story about a widow
who lived in the days before there was any social assistance or welfare but she struck oil in a different way. She was destitute and facing the prospect of her two sons being sold into slavery. Her husband had been a good man but when he died there was nothing left for the family. Not knowing what to do she called out to a prophet of God.
Being a kind and helpful man he went to visit her and saw her tough state. She had nothing in the house to eat and no money to pay her debts. So the prophet asked her, “What do you have in the house?” The only thing she had was a jar of oil.
“Ok,” said the prophet, “have your boys go around the neighborhood and collect as many jars as possible. Then when they get home start pouring oil into the jars.” The woman never doubted or questioned the prophet but did just as he asked. The boys collected as many jars as they could and once ready she started pouring oil. From that one jar she filled another and then another until all were filled. She called for one more jar but they didn’t have it and at that point the oil stopped flowing. Then the prophet told her to go and sell the oil, pay off the debts and live on the rest of the money.
You can find the story about the widow and Elisha in 2 Kings 4:1-7. It’s just one such story of the miracles that God worked on behalf of his people in the midst of everyday circumstances. Its New Testament counterpart is found when Jesus fed the 5000 with five loaves and two fishes.
I believe that God still works in miraculous ways. What’s amazing is how God takes what we have and uses it to demonstrate that he can supply our every need. In our world of material abundance we aren’t always in need of food and clothing but we often run dry spiritually and feel emotionally bankrupt. We are living on credit and can’t seem to keep our head above water.
The widow called out for help. We should learn from her, God wants to hear us ask for his strength and assistance. She had faith to believe that God would hear and help her. She prepared for abundance, the boys just kept bringing jars and her faith was rewarded as the oil kept flowing.
Sometimes when we look around our house all we see is emptiness and we feel hopeless. But God’s word tells us that’s when there is opportunity for a miracle.