“As a deer longs for a stream of cool water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for you, the living God.”
The Good News Bible
“From Empty to Full” – Part 4
“Nothing – Except”
“Fullness” – Containing all that is possible. Complete in every detail.
If I feel like I have nothing in my life, what is the “except” I can bring to Jesus?
“She said, ‘your handmaid has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.’”
2 Kings 4:2
“If you have faith as a grain of a mustard seed, you shall say unto the mountain, ‘Remove hence to yonder place,’ and it shall remove and nothing will be impossible to you.”
Yesterday when we met the widow with two sons, Elisha was at her home and had asked her whether she had anything of value to sell in her house.
Her answer was, “Nothing, except a jar of oil.” In this woman’s case, the “except” in her life was a little jug of oil – obviously not much to turn the tide of debt that was sweeping over her, ready to wash her life away like a tsunami.
I don’t know what the “except” is in your life. For each of us, it’s something different. Here are a few excepts:
1) I don’t have anybody who loves me except an aunt who lives 2,000 miles away.
2) I don’t have any money except for the rainy day fund in my top drawer that contains only $50 now.
3) I don’t have anything worthwhile about the way I look except maybe my blue eyes.
In the Hebrew definition of the word “except” I found that in its place, the word “save” is often used. For example, a sentence using the word “save” might go something like this: “She doesn’t have a decent dress ‘save’ for the pink one she’s worn for over three years.” In fact, in describing the words “except” and “save,” the Hebrew states they are used to convey lack. Both these words tell others we have less than what is necessary. And often this is how we view ourselves. We’re lesser than others think because we feel such lack in our lives.
This is how this mother felt. It is the sentiment she conveyed directly to Elisha. “I have nothing ‘except’ or ‘save’ a little jar of oil.” What she was saying was this: “Elisha, I am living my life in lack.”
What did Elisha say to her? I think this is the greatest! He turned to the woman and gave her some very specific instructions. “Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels” (2 Kings 4:3, King James Version).
I’m going to give you my own translation of this passage.
Elisha: “Get up. Hurry up. Go to every neighbor you have and get every jar and pot they have, full or empty – ask for every pot. Got it? Do it now.”
Here’s the real punch line to this story. Elisha adds one of those over, abundantly, above all we ask or think lines: “And don’t get a few.” (2 Kings 4:3).
The widow’s lack ran head-on into God’s plenty! The widow’s less – was overwhelmed by God’s more. Don’t you just love it?!
Every time we feel we lack something, God turns to us and says, “I have more than enough to meet your need!” Recognizing the abundance of God is recognizing that everything, all I need, has already been supplied – period.
Nothing great or small has not been provided for us to fill us. In the words of Thomas a Kempis:
“Be thankful for the smallest blessing, and you will receive greater. Value the least gifts no less than the greatest and simple graces as especial favors. If you remember the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem small, for nothing can be valueless that is given by the most high God.” (1380-1471)
I’d like to ask you to do something before tomorrow. Take a clean sheet of paper and draw some pots on it – simple line drawings of empty pots. Then on top of each pot write out the problem that makes you feel empty … that “except” problem. “I’d feel happy ‘except’ for that boss who drives me nuts.” “Our family would get along ‘except’ for our daughter who is on drugs.” “I have what I need today except my house won’t sell.” The list could go on and on!
Bring your empty pots with you to Transformation Garden tomorrow, and together we’re going to find the definitive way to get those empty pots filled to overflowing. The mother in our story got her miracle … she saw it with her own eyes. But believe me, she could hardly believe it. The same thing will happen to you and to me!
“Storm settles into quiet
Darkest dusk leads to dawn,
Bleak winter melts to springtime,
And the tide turns --
“For in Him the whole fullness of God continues to dwell … and you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life.”
The Amplified Bible
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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