Friday, April 26, 2013

Nothing {The Widow's Jar of Oil}

Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest” (2 Kings 4:1-7, ESV).

Your servant has nothing in the house.
The interest on this threadbare tent of my sojourning is high,
Too high.
It has emptied everything I have and more,
And now there’s nothing in the house to pay my debts,
Debts of duty,
Debts of love.
My dearest bear the cost of this indebtedness.

            Tell me, daughter. What have you in the house?

Nothing, Master. Nothing,
Except—
Except this little jar,
This little jar of promises,
            Of truth,
            Of help for one more day.
So little.
It might as well be empty.

            Go, He says. Borrow empty vessels from your neighbors.

I go.
I beg.
I borrow.
I pour.

And—oh, the grace—their nothing
Plus my nothing
Is everything we need.




With gratitude for the friends from whom I “borrowed vessels” of encouragement and prayer Thursday morning

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