Jar Gathering

6 03 2014

In 2 Kings 4 is a fascinating narrative about a widow and her sons. With her husband gone, the bills were due and the collectors were coming to take her sons as payment for debt.

She went to Elisha and asked for his help.

“What do you have in the house?” he asked.

“Nothing. Only a little bit of oil,” she replied.

“Okay. Here’s what I want you to do. Gather as many jars as you can – don’t get just a few,” he ordered.

Gather jars? Now that’s funny, right there!

When we take time to really enter into the stories, the Bible is anything but boring.

Imagine this woman and her sons going to neighbors and friends – and probably strangers as well: “Do you have any empty containers? Jars, jugs…hey, that hat might work. Can I have it?”

No doubt she was asked more than once,

“Why are you doing this?”

Her reply: “Um, don’t really know. Elisha said to get a bunch of jars. Who am I to question this man of God?”

Did she feel silly? A little stupid? Did his request seem to be pointless as she went from house to house?

Have you ever been given an assignment from God that seemed like it was nonsense? As if He didn’t have anything better to do that day, so He decided to amuse Himself by giving you a dumb task that had no real purpose?

We don’t know how long she and her sons collected the jars, only that they did. Considering their predicament, what could it hurt? They were out of ideas.

Elisha told them to go into the house and shut the door. Then the woman was to take her bit of oil and begin filling the jars.

There were no witnesses to what took place that day. Nothing to show the town that she hadn’t lost her mind. All they knew is that suddenly this little widow had oil for sale…enough to pay off the creditors and for her and her kids to live on. There’s no account of conversations she had with anyone.

Did she try to tell people about God’s provision? The miracle she witnessed?

Did they believe her? Or merely smile and ‘humor’ her?

I love this story! It helps me realize that no matter how foolish a task I am called to perform, God has a good purpose for it.

If I’m worried about what others might think, and refuse the Lord, I will miss out on a great blessing.

What’s more – note that God used what was already in her possession…

Oil.

The fact that they were told to do this in private excites me. This miracle was meant for their eyes only. No one else got to receive from it – which surely would have happened. When the townspeople saw that her oil jar was continuing to produce oil far beyond its capacity, no doubt they would have brought their own containers to be filled.

God had other plans. He wanted to bless this woman personally.

He’s like that…personal.

Do not miss the point that in the Bible oil represents the Holy Spirit. The more preparation this woman did by way of gathering jars, the more could be poured – not into her, but through her.

The oil wasn’t for personal consumption.

Although the oil was sold (at which point the analogy breaks down), with every jar, no doubt, came the telling of the great love of God who provided so lavishly for her.

For us, this story has significance as well. While we won’t be filling any jars with oil in our bedrooms, we do “gather jars” for the purpose of being filled and poured out for others. This looks different to every person:

For some, it is studying the Word in order to convey its truths to others.

Sometimes it is learning skills and acquiring techniques that will be employed by the Lord to spread His message.

It may be merely spending time in conversation with Him – being poured into by the Lord Himself.

What we are doing may seem silly, self-focused, and useless…like gathering jars.

However, we must be willing to be though eccentric or foolish or we will miss the blessing and miracle God wants to do in  – and then through us.

This is preparation time…the studying, the focus on acquiring new abilities, the desire to be fully equipped is not wasted time, if it is what He is asking of you. It will produce a harvest that far exceeds anything you ever dreamed possible.

It will require that you are shut away from people for a bit. They may talk, think you’re odd.

What do scoffers have to offer in place of what God wants to do?

A party? Leisure? Amusement?

I’m telling you, the woman was never so amused as when she watched oil continue to pour out of her little bottle to fill jar…after jar…after jar. You can’t duplicate an experience like that – even with a month holiday at your favorite resort!

When the last jar was filled, her little flask was empty. 

In other words, if she’d have acquired an oil tanker…there would have been enough oil to fill it.

Don’t miss this point!

The more we give of ourselves to God the greater capacity we have to receive – to be filled and given to others.

There is no greater satisfaction than being able to provide for others what we, ourselves, have received.

Let’s be “jar gatherers” of the greatest magnitude!

*****

PS I’m out gathering jars, and don’t have much time for writing at the moment. I’ve almost finished this task – then will be busy pouring out oil. Don’t know how long this will take, but God is good. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for my little jars!

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25 responses

12 03 2014
Mikey - LNC, USN (Retired)

There is no greater satisfaction than being able to provide for others what we, ourselves, have received. How true this is! GREAT post. Keep on keeping on writing. Have a blessed week … Mikey

13 03 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for the encouragement, Mikey. I’m up to my eyeballs in music software classes at the moment. Soon that will be behind me and I can get back to regular posts.

May the Lord bless your socks off this year!

\o/

9 03 2014
Mary

Great post as always, Tami 🙂

10 03 2014
lessonsbyheart

Mary, thanks for your encouragement. It is appreciated. 🙂

\o/

10 03 2014
Mary

Thank YOU.

8 03 2014
Kim

Hi Tami…..very encouraging expansion in this scripture…….:)

10 03 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks. It encouraged me, so thought I’d share what I learned! 🙂

\o/

6 03 2014
StephenWhoElse

And here we are, jars of clay …. holding nothing but the precious Spirit within 🙂

6 03 2014
lessonsbyheart

Hard to wrap one’s head around, isn’t it?? 🙂

\o/

Everything going well with you?

6 03 2014
StephenWhoElse

Been fighting the flu for the past few days and succeeded in passing it to my family instead…yeah I’m real popular now.. 🙂

6 03 2014
lessonsbyheart

😦 Praying that everyone gets better fast.

I remember when my kids were little. With seven of them we never had an illness – more like an epidemic. Don’t miss that part of parenting, for sure!

\o/

6 03 2014
StephenWhoElse

LOL !! Thanks Tami

6 03 2014
Equipping The Saints

Your post is very good. Please keep up the good work. You are a blessing.
Pastor/Equipping The Saints

6 03 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your words of encouragement.

\o/

6 03 2014
Equipping The Saints

You are very welcome.

6 03 2014
Equipping The Saints

Isn’t it good to know how many people love you. Just look at your post responses. God is so amazing that He makes me want to shout out loud and fall flat on my back. How ’bout that?

6 03 2014
Mary Adrienne

Reblogged this on Walking With My Brother and commented:
The Holy Spirit is working through Tami in her latest post, Jar Gathering. Don’t miss it…here’s a snip:

6 03 2014
Mary Adrienne

I’ve missed hearing from you and reading your posts. I’m holding you in prayer right this minute, asking our Father that these projects, which are keeping you from us, will bless you and be blessed by you.

I’m certain they’ll bear much fruit for all of us as you have time in the future to reflect on them with us.

Have a blessed Lent.

6 03 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks, Mary. 🙂 I’m having more fun than I ever thought humanly possible.

\o/

6 03 2014
nopew

God delights in using the little to do a lot, whether bread and fish, oil, a stone and a sling, a child, a little scroll, seed-sized faith…
Humbling.
Peace

6 03 2014
lessonsbyheart

Amen. 🙂

\o/

6 03 2014
Pure Glory

Amazing love from an Amazing God. He takes our little and multiples it in the Secret Place. Delighted to hear about your jar gathering!

6 03 2014
lessonsbyheart

He amazes me on a regular basis!

I must confess that I’ve had my moments lately of “Really? THIS is what You want me to do?” It seems a frivolous pursuit, but it is, indeed, what He’s called me to for this season. 🙂

How’s your soul doing these days?
\o/

6 03 2014
Pure Glory

My soul is being refined. Learning to trust Holy Spirit more than my soul and especially my emotions. It is an amazing walk!

6 03 2014
lessonsbyheart

Amen!

\o/

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