Give God What You Have!

2 Kings 4:1-7:
"Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha,
"Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD;
and 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 do you have in the house?"
And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil."

Then he said, "Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels;
do not get a few.

And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels;
and you shall set aside what is full."

So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing the vessels
to her and she poured.

And it came about when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel."
And he said to her, "There is not one vessel more." And the oil stopped.

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 can live on the rest
." (NKJV)

This is one of the most amazing and touching stories in the Old Testament.
There was a widow whose husband had been a faithful preacher and prophet, but he died
Now she was a single mother with two sons and overwhelming needs.
This poor woman had no husband, no money, no food, no income, and no prospects
of things getting better.
She was in danger of losing her sons to her creditors sell them as slaves.

Since her husband had died she cannot pay her bills, and her creditors are going to
take her sons away as slaves so they can work off the debt.
This was allowed under the Jewish Law. (Leviticus 25:39)
She has been deprived of her husband, now she is about to lose her sons.
She is deep in debt, and she doesn't have the means to pay those debts.
She needs help!

In her desperation she turns to the man of God for help.
Elisha was God's representative on earth and he was her best hope.
She reminds Elisha that her husband "did fear the Lord."

In her hopeless condition she came to the prophet, Elisha.
She cried out to Elisha: "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that
he revered the Lord.
But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves
."
The word "cried" means "to moan; to weep uncontrollably; to shriek out of grief."
This word speaks of the sound of a broken heart.

As we think about Elisha's question, "What shall I do for you?," we need to remember
that Elisha was not an ordinary prophet.
He had performed many miracles.
In a very unique way, he represented the person, power, and care of God.
The widow, as the wife of one of the prophets under Elisha's ministry, must have been
familiar with what God had been doing through the prophet Elisha.
She was seeking God's help through Elisha.

This woman comes to the man of God at the lowest moment of her life.
She is in desperate straits!
Even though she couldn't see a way out, she knew that she couldn't see everything.
Even though she didn't understand everything, she still believed that God cared for her
and that He could do something to help her, and she cried out to Him in faith!

Elisha asked two questions.
First, he asked, "What do you need?"
The second question was, "What do you have?"

Elisha's second question: "What hast thou in the house?" was asked to teach this widow
that it may not have looked like she had much, but she really had everything she needed
to receive what God was ready to give.
She couldn't see it, but God had already given her what He would use to meet her need.

Elisha asked those two questions so this woman would acknowledge the enormity of her need
and the importance of her own resources.
She needed everything, and she had very little.
She needed so much, and there is no way that she could cope with these problems.

Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have?"
And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil."
She was so poor, and she only had a single pot of oil.
She had no hope and no resources.

Elisha's first question was: "What do you have?"
And her response was: "Your servant has nothing at all, except a little oil."
She had a little oil.

All she had was "a pot of oil".
This oil was probably just a small amount of anointing oil, used by the prophets to anoint
the men of God.
This little jar of oil had probably been unused since her husband died.
That little, insignificant jar of oil was the answer to her prayers.

Elisha said, "Go and ask all your neighbors for empty jars.
Don't ask for just a few
."
In other words, gather all the empty jars you can get.
This woman was given the opportunity to prove her faith, and it would strengthened her faith.
She had to go and borrow empty vessels from her neighbors.
So, she and her sons went to all of her neighbors and was given their empty vessels.
All those empty oil jars would seem to be useless to her neighbors.

Elisha said: "Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons.
Pour oil into all the jars….
She left him and went shut the door behind her and her sons
."

"And you shall go in and shut the door behind you . . ." (vs. 4).
The closed door gave them privacy.
What she did was to be done without any distractions so she and her sons could focus on the Lord,
and to trust Him completely.
To be alone with God is a vital need of every believer.
And it is especially true in these days in which we live.

One of the reasons we might not see God multiplying our gifts and abilities is because we fail
to get alone with Him and to trust Him.
We must focus our hearts upon His grace and His provisions.
When this miracle occurred they were alone with God, and Elisha was not present.
This would encourage her to have greater faith and dependence on the Lord.

Picture that scene in that little home that day.
There is a mother with her sons and all those empty vessels sitting all over that house.
She picks up that little jar of oil and one of those boys says, "Mom, what are you doing with that oil?
Why did you have us borrow all those vessels from the neighbors
?"

And she said to the sons: "I don't have all the answers, but I believe the Lord is about to do
something great.
Your father didn't leave us much, but he did leave us this little jar of oil.
God's man said that we were to gather all the vessels we could get.
And I believe God is going to fill every one of these vessels out of this little jar
."

So, they hand her the first vessel and she fills it up.
She fills up one vessel after another, and the oil just keeps pouring out of that little bottle
until every vessel was filled.

When that day ended, this mother and her sons had learned a valuable lesson.
They learned that God was all-powerful and was able to meet their every need.
They learned that it was important to trust in God.
The neighbors would hear what God had done, but this mother and her sons would know
that God had delivered them. .

She could have doubted, and thought that it was crazy for anyone to believe all those vessels
could be filled from that one little jar?
People are going to think that losing her husband caused her to lose her mind..
But her faith in God was strong, and she did what the prophet had told her to do,
and by doing that, she received miracle from God.

She poured oil into all the empty vessels until they were all filled,
and when there were no more empty vessels the flow of the oil stopped.
Again, she asked the prophet what she was to do.
He answered: "Sell the oil and pay your debt and take the rest to support you and your sons."

The man of God told her to pay off her debts and live on the rest!
Now she and her sons will have a full life and the security they needed.
Her little had became so much more.

That's what God wants to do for us.
He wants us to have life more abundantly.
Jesus said in John 10:10: "I have come so that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly
."

She did everything that that Elisha had told her to do and the result was an amazing miracle.
So often we we try to do God's work in the power of our own strength and personality,
we burn out, and give up.
But when we faithfully God He will provide what we need.

When you read this story of the little pot of oil, you say, "What an amazing miracle."
The very same thing can be said for for us when we do anything for Christ in the power
of the Holy Spirit.
God will take the little that we have and multiply it.
You and I are like little vessels of oil.
In the Bible oil represents the Holy Spirit; and we're called on to pour ourselves out
in sacrificial service.

There are times when we grow discouraged and depleted of strength and don't believe
that we can go on..
There are times when our nerves are stained and we are ready to give up.
But God can take the little we have, and when we give it to Him, we will be
amazed to see what God will do and can do in our lives.

"Does the place you're called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He'll not forget His own.

Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There's a crown and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus' Name
."
-- Kittle Louise Suffield, 1924

If you are discouraged, downhearted, and feel defeated then this is the time to seek and receive
God's help.
This is where where prophets and saints have been.
So why don't you bring your little jar of oil to the Lord, and experience His richest blessings.
Too often our blessings are little, because our faith and trust are little.

I read about two men who went to a lake to fish for trout.
They fished all day..
But one of the men did something strange.

Every time he would catch a trout he would pull out a little ruler and measure it,
and if the trout measured larger than the ruler he would throw it back.
He kept all of the little trout that he caught, and he threw back all the big ones.

His partner had watched that all day long, so as they prepared to leave he said to the man,
"I can't stand this any longer. I have never seen a man fish like you in my life."

He said, "You've kept all of the small trout and you threw back all of the big ones."
The man answered, "I sure did."

He asked, "Why did you do that?"
The man said, "Because I only have an eight-inch frying pan."

Now think about that.
Rather than get a bigger skillet, he settled for smaller fish.

I believe God is ready to give us twelve-inch blessings, but all we have is eight-inch faith.

You have no idea what God is ready to do through you.
If you are a Christian, then you are a child of God, and He has promised to hear your prayers,
Jeremiah 33:3: "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and will show thee great things, and difficult,
which thou knowest not
."

He has promised to answer our prayers.
Matthew 7:7-8: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock,
and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks
it will be opened."
(ESV)

He has promised to meet all our needs.
Philippians 4:19: "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches
in glory in Christ Jesus
."

Matthew 6:33-34: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things
will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble
. "

"His love has no limit; His grace has no measure;
His power has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again
."

Now the Lord is asking: "What can I do?" and "What do you have?"

Our problem is that as long as we think we can handle things, we will not look to the Lord.
We think that if we already have all the answers, why should we turn to Him?
But when we honestly answer those two questions, we will realize that we need more
than we will ever be able to supply by ourselves.
God does this to increase our faith in Him, .... and not our own.......
As long as we think we can, He won't!

At some time of life every person in this service will come to a low point of life.
There will come a day when you will reach the end of your rope.
Some have been through it and can testify of it.
Others are there right now and are looking for some help.
Others will arrive there someday.
We will all have our days of trouble and trial.

We read in Job 14:1: "Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble."
In John 16:33 Jesus said: "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."


What do you do when you are facing problems with your children that you cannot solve?
What do you do when your marriage is in trouble and you don't see any hope for it?
What do you do when there are problems at work and it seems that there is no solution?
What do you do when you have too many bills to pay and not enough money?
What do you do when you have just buried a loved one and you cannot overcome the loneliness
and the grief?
What do you do when your heart is broken, your dreams are shattered?

God has an answer to all those questions!
God is able to meet every need, move every mountain, and solve every problem.
His provision is limited by nothing but our faith.

But our need is to take what we have regardless of how small or large it is, and give it to Him.
We must give Him our talents, our gifts, our finances, and our physical assets.

We can't simply pray for God to supply the oil, and ignore our responsibility to use the oil we have.
We must take the oil we have, and trust God to multiply it.
We have more than we think we have when we give to God the little that we have

Obedience leads to blessings.
God's ability to provide will always exceed our capacity to receive.
God used what the widow had -- a little oil -- to provide what she didn't have -- a lot of oil.
God pours out His blessings when we are willing to pour out what we have.

We must acknowledge our needs.
We must also admit our emptiness.
We must use what we have.
We must be ready to give all our little.
Then, we must get alone with God.
Be ready to make room for God's richest blessings.
Just as God took care of this widow, He will take care of us.

God can meet every need, and move every mountain, and solve every problem.
His provision is limited only by our faith.
God is ready to take your little and make it more than you could ever imagine.

ORDINARY PEOPLE
"Just ordinary people
God uses ordinary people
He chooses people just like me and you
Who are willing to do as He commands
God uses people that will give Him all
No matter how small your all may seem to you
Because little becomes much as you place it in the Master's hand

Just ordinary people (ordinary people)
My God uses (plain old) ordinary people (oh yes He does)
He chooses people just like me and you
Who are willing, willing to do everything that He commands (oh, yes)
God uses people that will give Him all
No matter how small your all might seem to you
Because little becomes much as you place it in the Master's hand

Just like that little lad
Who gave Jesus all he had
How the multitude was fed
With the fish and the loaves of bread
What you have may not seem much
But when you yield it to the touch
Of the Master's loving hand, yes,
Then you'll understand How your life could never be the same

Just ordinary people My God uses (plain old) ordinary people (yes)
He chooses people just like me and you
Who are willing to do everything that He commands
God uses people that will give Him all
It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter how small your all may seem to you
Because little becomes much as you place it in the Master's hand....
Little becomes much as you place it in the Master's hand
."

-- Danniebelle Hall

Sermon prepared by Dr. Harold L. White