March 29, 2011
This article is about nothing! Of course, some of you may be thinking: “What’s new?” But I have to admit that this article will be the most nothing article you’ve ever read. I have begun with this warning, not to discourage your continued reading, but as a reminder that the story from 2 Kings 4:1-7 is much to do about – nothing. Specifically the widow says to Elisha: “Your servant has nothing” (2 Kings 4:2).
A widow sees Elisha and “cries out” (2 Kings 4:1). This Hebrew verb implies “economic oppression.” The point being that this widow has zip, zero, zilch, nothing! Her husband is dead, her cupboards are bare and her sons are about to become slaves. She’s been rejected at “Uncle Al’s Easy Loans” and she’ll never be a millionaire because her final answer is: “Nothing!”
She relocated her family from Hard Knocks Ave. to Dead End Alley. But the wolves googled “Shylock Will Get Your Pound of Flesh.Com” and are again howling at her door. In those days there was no such thing as Chapter 11. If you owed money and could not repay, your children became collateral and they could be taken and sold into slavery. If you don’t count the unpaid bills, eviction notices and threatening letters in her mailbox, she has absolutely nothing!
Nothing but hope in a graceful God and His prophet, therefore the widow calls out: “Elisha!” Elisha replied: “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what do you have in the house?” (2 Kings 4:2). Elisha asked her two questions: “What do you need?” And “What do you have?” Well, those are two easy questions to answer. She needed everything and she has nothing “but a jar of oil.”
But then to add insult to her injury Elisha says: “You don’t have enough of nothing. Go to all of your neighbors and get their empty jars. Then go into your empty house with your empty cupboards with your empty stomachs and your soon-to-be-slaves sons and shut the door, then pour your oil into all those vessels and set aside the full ones” (2 Kings 4:3-4).
Notice this woman’s response: There was no debate, no discussion, no dispute, no disagreement, and no deliberation. This widow did not say: “I’m like my cat – I’ll get back to you.” But immediately did as she was told. And when nothing is multiplied by obedience, the oil began to flow and “all of the jars were full.” (2 Kings 4:6). There was enough fullness to pay off the debt and for she and her sons to live on! From all of this nothing comes - everything!
Many people are not good in math; however, if we wish to turn our nothing into fullness we need to learn an equation that so often eludes us. Here it is: “A Graceful God x Absolutely Nothing = Absolutely Everything!”