How big is your Jar?

Some days I wake up in the morning really hungry. I mean like really hungry. And it seems that lately as I am trying to refine my morning routine for the purposes of maximizing time spent sleeping, I have been less inclined to cook a big breakfast and instead have been opting for cereal. Here’s the thing, when I’m really hungry, I don’t reach for a small bowl and a teaspoon. I’m looking for a mixing bowl, a whole gallon of milk, and the biggest spoon I can find. It’s the same when I eat at a place with a “dessert bar.” I have been known to take a dinner plate to the dessert bar in order to avoid those pesky and terribly inconvenient fourth trips to restock.

This got me thinking about a story in 2 Kings 4, where the prophet Elisha is approached by a widow whose husband served with Elisha. Here is the story.

“One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”

2 Kings 4:1-7 (NLT)

I think what we are seeing here is the beginning of the essential oils boom. I’m sure after this olive oil stock ran low the widow would go on to begin selling frankincense, coconut oil, maybe even myrrh.

So, how does this relate to my early morning cereal feast? Well, it may be a loose comparison but hang with me. When I have a need, in this case, food, I reach for a bowl that is large enough to contain the solution for that need. The thing is, I never look into the cereal box first to see how much is in there. I don’t ask the box, “How much can I have?” I simply get out the bowl that fits my needs and start pouring, having faith that there is enough cereal in the box to fill the bowl, if not more.

I think this widow’s response to this situation is an inspiring example of faith. She has a small jar of olive oil yet when Elisha tells her to borrow as many jars as she can, she doesn’t borrow in accordance to the flask, she borrows in accordance to her faith. She borrows every single jar she can get her hands on and then begins filling them.

What if we were to approach God like that, knowing that he is a God of limitless resources who wants to bless us? The question to Him should not be, “How much will you give me?” The question from Him becomes, “How much can you handle?” The question we have to answer is, “How big is my faith?” You see, the box of cereal will eventually get empty, but the resources of God are limitless and his love for us is immeasurable. So when he calls us to step out in faith or we find ourselves in a season where all we can do is pray and wait for Him, don’t waste time worrying if He’s got a plan, go out and find some more jars!

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