"What can I do for you?"
That is a beautiful question.
Elijah had been sent by God, a prophet often to kings. But here a widow comes to him in need. She is empty of income, lacking in supply. Creditors are threatening her if her bills are not paid.
And Elijah asks, "What can I do for you?" But it's not in a sarcastic form as some might think. It's not ask if he's trying to wriggle away from her and avoid a difficult situation. Rather it's a genuine desire to help, to serve, to give. It's a question asked of a lowly widow, when kings may possibly demanding of his time.
So Elijah waits on her answer, as he asks, "What do you have in the house?"
Whatever this woman finds, whatever she sees in her possession... it's never enough. And so often this too is our predicament in life. When we face a challenge or find ourself in a pinch, it's so easy to focus on the lack around us, rather than the potential within us.
So Elijah tells her to gather jars from her neighbors. He's not looking for her to have it all; for her to fix her own problem. And as such, Elijah represents God well. For He does not expect us to reason our way out of the problems of this life, nor to have all that is required to do so.
Rather, God wants us to see past our limitation, relying on His generous supply... His Unlimited Potential.
So the woman gathers jars and follows Elijah's instructions to fill them with oil. But this is no ordinary task she can do on her own. She must rely on others... her neighbors, her family, and her God.
And the oil flows. Over and over, filled to the top, until no jars are left. What God supplies is only limited by her preparation to the task... by her idea of how many jars to collect.
Had she collected more jars, the oil would have continued to pour from the Unlimited Potential of our God.
Let us be stretched in our faith today.
Let us not hide our emptiness
which limits His ability to fill.
Rather, let us see our lack
as a place for God's Unlimited Potential,
as a beautiful supply of His grace.
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