A shot of panic ran through me. Will we have enough? Will we make budget? Will we have the resources to meet payroll? This wasn't the first time I had faced financial crisis. For years and years of my life there has always been more budget than bank balance. The reality of that position has taught me some things about worry, about leadership and most of all about my faith. For many months now my response to the need for resources has been a solid contentment. Leaning into the stability of a God who makes all things possible has allowed me to breathe in his goodness and breathe out an "it is well with my soul." Needless to say, my reaction this day caught me by surprise. I was even more disturbed that I found myself waking up at night thinking about the bottom line of the budget.
God, my Father took me to the story in the Old Testament of the woman who had an encounter with Elisha. Elisha the prophet was hungry and asked her to fix him some food. Unfortunately this woman had some similar resource problems to the ones I've experienced. She told the prophet that she had almost nothing left and was ready to fix her last meal for her and her sons and prepare to die. Elisha put her to work. His instructions seemed odd. He told her to go to her friends and find as many pots as she could, bring them home and shut the door. It seems odd to me that the prophet didn't ask her to go and borrow oil. He asked her to go and borrow pots. She did as she was instructed and gathered the pots. When she was safely in her house with the door closed he instructed her to take her remaining few drops of oil and begin filling the pots. She obeyed and the last few drops of oil in her bottle filled every other pot available. When all the pots were full the oil stopped. The woman now had oil to sell to pay her bills and oil for the sustenance of her family.
I smiled at a good Father who gently sends me reminders of who he is. Just as the woman was instructed to participate in the process of what God was doing, he reminded me that I also have a part to play. My obedience is what brings provision. The woman had no idea what she would do with all of those pots. She wasn't in need of pots. She was in need of oil.
God fills up empty vessels. The filling comes from him. All I need to do is bring the pot. When the oil stopped I wonder if the woman had wished she'd gotten more pots. Why did she stop with the number of pots she gathered? Again, a reminder to me that God cannot run out of resources. No matter how many needs I have, he is continually able to fill them. He's never put out by my asking too much. He never runs out...and he loves to bless with abundance.
The lesson I learned this time around is one of the that I won't soon forget. I can't ask for too much, and as long and as often as I bring him empty pots, he will fill them. Two things! Make sure you bring pots that are empty. And don't overlook any possible pots!
It's a beautiful thing to be included in the grand plan that God has to meet our needs. It's such a sweet truth that provision is not my responsibility. Participation is what is asked of me. His outpouring of goodness fills every waiting empty vessel. His resources never run dry.
Are you worried today about having enough. Participate in what God is doing around you. Empty yourself of what you think you need and let God pour his resources into you in a non-ending stream of his goodness. You'll find the contentment of his never failing abundance. You'll find it is well with your soul.
Shelley Lopez, Executive Director
Shelley has been a member of the Springfield community for 29 years. As she lives and works and worships in the city, she uses the metaphor of an old Victorian house restoration to keep her focused on the work she is called to do. Inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah, she pours herself into "restoring old ruins, rebuilding and renovating, making the community livable again" (Is. 58:12 MSG)