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When A Little is Enough

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2 Kings 4:1–7 NRSV
Now the wife of a member of the company of prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but a creditor has come to take my two children as slaves.” Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She answered, “Your servant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.” He said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not just a few. Then go in, and shut the door behind you and your children, and start pouring into all these vessels; when each is full, set it aside.” So she left him and shut the door behind her and her children; they kept bringing vessels to her, and she kept pouring. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” But he said to her, “There are no more.” 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 children can live on the rest.”
From this text this morning I’d like to use for a topic.....
When A Little is Enough
In our text this morning .....we read about a poor widow mother who was once married to a prophet, who was one of the sons, and a servant of Elisha the Prophet. Elisha was a might prophet of God....who succeeded the Prophet Elijah…He performed miracles, taught students, and advised several Kings ....serving for 60 years in Israel.
The text tells us in verse 1 that the woman’s husband....who was a prophet under the tutelage of Elisha....had died.....and his wife was left a widow.....with two sons to raise and take care of.
But not only was the woman without a husband..... with two sons to care of by herself...... she was also left with a loss of income that her former husband brought in......
Her cash flow was cut short......and eventually all the money that she had saved up for a rainy day was gone..... You see there was no life insurance policy that her husband had.....which could provide income for her......and her sons were not able to get a job.
My brothers and sisters.......this caused this mother to get behind on her bills........and these unpaid bills needed to be paid.......... The creditors were contacting her......at all times of the day and night........because they wanted her to pay on the bills that she owed.... They were sending threatening letters......to collect the debt owed. Let me suggest that the bills were overdue....not 30 days....not 60 days......not 90 days.....but over 120 days......and her accounts were sent to collections.
As a matter of fact....and if truth be told.....she was so far behind on her accounts....... that her creditors threatened to take her sons into slavery ....so that they could work off the debt that was owed......
However inhumane this may seem my brothers and sisters.......the creditors were within their rights.......according to Law given by Moses......
You see the Mosaic Law allowed creditors to enslave the debtor and his children as far as the Year of Jubilee in order to work off a debt (Exod 21:2–4; Lev 25:39; Neh 5:5; Isa 50:1; Amos 2:6; 8:6; cf. Matt 18:25)
And so here we are....... A widowed mother.....with two growing boys.....that’s eating up everything in the house....(do I have someone)......and the bills are piling up........the water is about to get shut off..........lights about to get turned off.... and the repo man is at the door.
Things are not good for this mother of two.........
It reminds me of something my Frat brother......and comedian DL Hughley once said .....when a bill collector called him......trying to collect a debt......... The bill collector said ........ “When can we expect payment for your bill?”
And DL said........“You can expect payment whenever you want, pick a date....and we can both be surprised together”.
DL knew what it was like to not have money to pay a bill..... do I have someone this morning?
But notice what this mother does when she found herself backed up against the wall.......with no money to pay her debt.
She goes to the Prophet Elisha and says.....”Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but a creditor has come to take my two children as slaves.”
I believe that there is a lesson we can take from this mother this morning.....
Look.....just as this woman found herself going to Elisha the Prophet of God to tell him about her situation...
We need to go to the Lord in Prayer and tell Him when we are faced with a difficult dilemma. We need to call on the Lord and tell Him all about our troubles, about our pressing situations.......and hardships...... Can I get an Amen?
Psalm 34 and 6 reminds us....
Psalm 34:6 NRSV
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble.
Now there is a reason why this woman went to Elisha the Prophet about her dilemma.....
First of all, we must understand this woman’s plight.....in the society that she lived in during her day and time....
During her day and time, widows were often oppressed.....mistreated and abused.... and because they were often mistreated.....
The Lord issued a commandment about widows.... Exodus 22:22 states
Exodus 22:22 NRSV
You shall not abuse any widow or orphan.
What made matters worse for this mother .....she couldn’t leave the home and find work because she had two sons to raise....
And because she was a widow.....she did not have anyone to protect her from the creditor who threatened to break up the family if she did not pay the debt....
But what I like about this mother is that even though she was faced with an overwhelming situation...... stress and pressure of being a single parent........with creditors breathing down her neck......to pay up ....or her sons would be sold into slavery.......... this widowed mother.......does not give up on her family.
She could have thrown in the towel, but she did not give up on her family.....
She could have sent her sons away to live with other family members or with some friends while she got herself together, but instead she kept them close to her and chose to deal with this situation head on.....
And if we think about it, the reason why some of us are still alive today is because we had mothers that did not give up....
No matter how tough times were in the home, in the marriage, in their personal life, or whatever, the reason why we are still here today....is because out mothers did not give up on us.
Now I understand this may not be the case for everyone, but for many of us…that is the case......
We may have acted up in school, but thank God our mothers did not give up on us.
We may have got arrested for doing something foolish, but thank God that our mothers did not give up on us.
We may have done some things that were embarrassing, but thank God that our mothers did not give up on us. Do I have someone this morning?
Some of you all have Mommas will stand up, stick up......and maybe even cut some one up.....if they messed with you. Is that right?
This mother did not give up on making sure her family stayed together.....
Let me suggest the second reason why this mother went to Elisha about her dilemma was because she believed that he had a Word from the Lord for her situation....
She believed that Elisha had a strong relationship with the Lord and he would be able to help her with prayer.....he would be able to help her with an encouraging word.
Now when this mother came to Elisha.......about her debt dilemma.
2 Kings 4:2 NRSV
Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She answered, “Your servant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.”
Now notice that she said that she had nothing in the house .....except a jar of oil.
She had nothing ......in the house..... except a jar of oil.
And perhaps.....she had to sell off the other items in her home.......to try to make ends meet.
And now.....
She found herself down to her last item...... that jar of oil.......
Here is a mother with nothing but a jar of oil in her house....... but guess what?
Little did she know.....that there was a blessing........a blessing in that jar of oil.
In that little mason jar of oil.......there was a blessing.......
There was deliverance.....in that little jar of oil.....
There was provision........in that little jar of oil.....
There was hope.......in that little jar of oil.....
When a little is enough
The mother did not see it, but Elisha did.....
And you know sometimes.....we overlook things that look so insignificant in our sight.......
But that is when the Lord can take something that looks insignificant to us.....but use it for our good.
Let me see if I can make that plain....
You see.....the 12 disciples saw 2 sardines.....and a piece of bread.......just enough for a little boy’s lunch...
But Jesus saw something different....... He saw enough to feed 5000 men plus women and children.....
Peter ....who had been fishing all night.........saw the empty nets....and didn’t think there was a reason to cast out the nets
Jesus saw a large catch of fish.......so much so that their boats would began to sink because of the number of fish Peter caught.
So upon hearing what the woman had said........ Look at what Elisha tells her....
2 Kings 4:3 NRSV
He said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not just a few.
That means she was to borrow as many vessels she could borrow.
So this mother.....goes from door to door.........knocking and borrowing....... knocking and borrowing....
And she gathers up empty vessel .....after......empty vessel........
And I don’t know about you......but I remember a time.......when it was common.......to go borrow something from your neighbor........ You could knock....and ask to borrow some sugar........ You could knock and ask to borrow some milk...
Do I have someone this morning.....
Nowadays.....you have to be careful who’s door you knock on.....you could have the police called on you or possibly get shot at.
Is that right......
And after she gathers as many empty vessels as she can....... Elisha says...
2 Kings 4:4 NRSV
Then go in, and shut the door behind you and your children, and start pouring into all these vessels; when each is full, set it aside.”
And the bible tells us that the woman did exactly what the prophet told her to do.......
Now notice something here.......
She goes into her house......shuts the door behind her........and then the woman and her children begin to fill the vessels
She didn’t question Elisha.....and ask why she should pour the oil from the jar into the vessel......
She was humble and obedient......and I believe that if we want the Lord to deliver us.....and bless us......we must be humble and obedient to the Word of the Lord.....
1 Peter 5:6 NRSV
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time.
But then there is something else here.........she was to close her door....and begin working in secret.......filling the borrowed vessels with oil......
And I believe within my heart that before they started to pour the oil into the vessels, after they had shut the door behind them, I believe the first thing they did was pray.....
I believe they asked the Lord behind the closed door to bless the oil to fill all the vessels they had borrowed from their neighbors......
And guess what.....Jesus told us that we are to shut the door behind us to when we pray.
Matthew 6:6 NRSV
But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And sometimes FBC .....you too have to shut the world out behind you.....go in your closet......shut the door......get on your knees and pray..... Is that right?
Now look at what the text says in verse 6
2 Kings 4:6 NRSV
When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” But he said to her, “There are no more.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
Now notice something here......and this is for our youth......and our young children watching......
The woman’s sons were helping their mother …filling the vessels.......
They were being obedient and honoring their mother with the task.....
And just like they were being obedient and helping......you should also be obedient and honor your parents and grandparents by helping around the house.
You are obedient and honor your parents by doing your chores.......making sure you do your homework.....staying out of trouble....going to church ....
It’s important for children to be obedient to their parents and grandparents......
The Bible tells us in Exodus 20 and 12
Exodus 20:12 NRSV
Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
And when the mother and her two sons finished filling all the vessels that they had with the oil...... She goes and tell Elisha what she had done.....
Verse 7 says.......
2 Kings 4:7 NRSV
She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your children can live on the rest.”
What I like about this story is what seem like a little......the little bit of oil that was in the little mason jar......became a source of income for the woman to pay all of her creditors.....
But not only did she have enough oil to pay her debts......she had enough oil to live off of for the rest of her life......
My brothers and sisters......this a miracle from the Lord. For God had multiplied the oil that was in the jar.....
Yes.....the Lord God took a little.....and made it enough.... He took a little oil and made plenty from it......
Now you may not have a small jar of oil for God to use and bless you, but yet God can still use the little that you have to tremendously bless you.
Jesus said.....if you have the faith as the size of a mustard seed, you shall say unto your mountain be removed, and nothing shall be impossible for you......
All that is needed to have faith that God is able to do it.....
Believing that He will supply all our needs according to his riches and glory in Christ Jesus....and that God is able to do all things...
But look at this...... this mother couldn’t just sit down on her faith....she had to get up and do something.....
The bible reminds us in.....
James 2:17 NRSV
So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
You see, if this mother would have just believed in the Lord....and did not fo what Elisha told her to do, did not borrow the vessels, did not pour the oil in the vessels......did not sell the vessels of oil....to her neighbors, she would have still been in trouble with the creditors.....and lost her sons to slavery........because Faith without works is dead....
My brothers and sisters there has to be some actions behind our faith in the Lord if we want to be blessed.....
And because this woman, this mother.....this widow trusted God.....because she was humble and obedient to the instructions.....that the prophet had given her...... She was blessed for a life time.......
You see there are some things we can glean from our text this morning.......
At the beginning of this story, this mother was bankrupt, but at the end of the story.....this mother was blessed.
At the beginning of this story, this mother was poor, but at the end of the story, this mother was privileged and powerful.
At the beginning of this story, this mother was stressed out, but at the end of this story, this mother was at peace.
At the beginning of this story, this mother was depressed, but at the end of this story this mother was rejoicing.
At the beginning of this story, this mother was unemployed, but at the end of this story this mother was an entrepreneur (CEO) of her own oil business.
At the beginning of this story, this mother wasn’t able to sing, but at the end of this story, this mother has a song to praise the Lord.
At the beginning of this story, this mother was going through a test....but I’m here to tell you this morning First Baptist.....that at the end of this story......this mother had a testimony.......
And if you could just use your sanctified imaginations with me this morning........I believe her testimony would be like this......
If it had not been for the Lord on my side.....where would I be?
I had just a little.......and He blessed me with a lot.
I was down to my last........and He gave me all that I needed.....
I believe she would say....there was no where to turn......so I trusted in the Lord........ He heard my cries.....and he delivered me from all of my fears.......
I believe she would say.......what God has done for me....He can also do for you.......
The Lord has brought me a mighty long way.....
I almost gave up........but He kept me..........so I wouldn’t let go.....
He is worthy to be praised!!! He is worthy to be trusted........ I had a little bit and He gave me enough....
When a little is enough.....
When a little is enough.....
Glory be to God!!!
He is worthy.....
He is good........ He is a mighty God.....and He’s been good to me.........
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