A Jar of OIive Oil

“Ordinary People – Extraordinary God.” That is the tag line for my website. Today as I was doing my morning devotion, I thought about what it means to be ordinary. Because quite frankly, the longer I live, the more I realize no one is “ordinary.” Each person has their own unique abilities and gifts, their own unique personalities, their own unique stories, and their own unique challenges and joys.

But so many people consider themselves ordinary. Even people I know who are highly talented and motivated, often look at themselves through a lens that shows them as ordinary or even lacking.

I believe that is when God can shine the brightest. When we may be at our lowest, or when we see our lack, that is the time that God can take our weakness and show his strength.

This morning I read the story of the widow’s olive oil in 2 Kings 4. She was a widow, an ordinary woman, who had creditors knocking at her door and threatening to take her sons as slaves to repay the debt left after her husband died. She went to the prophet Elisha and shared her story with him hoping for help. Strangely enough, after hearing her story, Elisha asked her what she had in her house. Her reply was nothing but a small jar of olive oil. No meat, no bread. Nothing else. But here is the amazing part.

He asked her to gather as many large jars as she could. So she did. She and her sons gathered as many large jars as people were willing to share. Elisha told her to pour oil from her small jar into the large jars. So she did. Amazingly she filled all the jars she had gathered. She had enough oil to not only pay her debts, but also support her and her sons!

God gave her an extraordinary gift out of an ordinary jar of oil. But the thing that strikes me in all of this is that the widow was obedient to what was asked of her. I think if she had scoffed and not gathered the large jars, nothing extraordinary would have happened. Instead she got busy and did what she needed to do.

After reading this story, I had to ask myself how many times has God asked me to do something from the little that I have (or the little I think I have) and I have done nothing? How many times have I lacked the faith to believe that out of my ordinary life God can bring extraordinary things? Far too many, if I am being truthful.

So what do you have in your house? My prayer is that God will help both you and me to recognize what we have in our house–even the ordinary–and let it be used in extraordinary ways for Him.

“Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” – 2 Kings 4:2 (NIV)

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