The Oil Shortage
6 “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. 7 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.” 2 Kings 4:6-7 NKJ
Several years ago we felt the effects of the ever-increasing price of gasoline. In today’s society many live paycheck to paycheck. Gas prices were enough to send those families into financial crisis. However, we can learn some valuable lessons in this time of trouble from an “oil shortage” in the Old Testament.
2 Kings Chapter 2 tells us the story of a widow left with debt that threatened to place her sons into slavery. She faced a crisis in her life. Crisis presents either danger or opportunity. A lot depends on our expectations. In crisis, we can learn from the widow and the man of God, Elisha. The Prophet asked her what she had to meet the need. She had nothing “except a little oil”. What she thought was only a little was actually more than enough to meet her needs. The same is true for us. God wants us to use what we have and allow it to be multiplied and enlarged in Him. When we get into financial problems, rather than looking at what we have as the widow did, we look to borrow money or rely on credit to put off the inevitable to the future. Had the widow chosen that course, she would have lost her sons to slavery. The same is true today. Looking for external answers puts us into financial bondage.
Here is the second lesson. The widow had to be involved in the miracle. She had to go collect vessels into which she could pour her “little oil”. She wound up with oil supernaturally pouring from her lone container, until it filled every vessel that she had gathered. When the last vessel was filled the oil stopped flowing. Her blessing was equal to her faith. In the end, she had enough to not only pay her debts but also enough to live on as well.
Are you in crisis? What you have already is enough in the Lord. But God wants you involved. He could have provided a spring of oil in the widow’s yard. But instead He provided through what she had and what she was willing to give of herself. The Lord has given everyone a measure. Are you willing to release it through Him? Look to Him and let the Lord show you what He has invested in you. He wants to pour through you, to meet your oil shortage. What you’ve seen as peril is actually an opportunity.
J Todd Hostetler