Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring.
- 2 Kings 4:2-5
“Jeff Feldhahn, a friend of Nathan’s, started a business called World2one. Nathan remembers how excited Jeff was when he ﬁrst told him about it, especially about its prospects for allowing ministries to quickly, easily, and safely connect with the people they serve and who serve them.
“And then the dot—com bubble burst, all sources of funding dried up, and 98 percent of the employees left, leaving Jeff and a part-time programmer to carry the vision. Companies were drying up right and left and ﬁling for bankruptcy, but Jeff felt such a passion for the investors and for the concept itself that he believed he should stick it out.
“ ‘I’ll just keep going for six months, and if it doesn’t turn the corner, I’ll move on.’ Several months later, Nathan asked for an update.
“ ‘It hasn’t exactly turned the corner, but there is something that may happen that’ll turn it for us.’ And so it has gone on.
“Jeff is now almost ten years into it and ﬁnally has a product and website. Through it all, however, his attitude has remained unﬂagging: God will provide.
“So often we fret from day to day, wondering how we will get to tomorrow. What we easily forget is that God has plenty of oil in an endlessly ﬂowing ﬂask. Plenty of resources. In fact, God has all of the oil, all of the resources. We are simply stewards of them.
“How does the World2one story end? Right now, only God knows.
“But I know that Jeff’s story is unfolding in the way that it should, and that Jeff is growing through the process. And in the interim, he and his wife have coauthored bestselling books on marriage, the For Women Only and For Men Only series, which grew out of their shared experience in this uncertain time in their lives. It was an untapped resource that surfaced when it was needed.
“< UNCOMMON KEY > When things aren’t going the way you’d hoped, remember that the Creator of the universe has all the resources you could ever need. If you trust in Him and stick it out, you may end up being surprised by the outcome.”
- Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker, The One Year Uncommon Life (Devotion for 8 September)
I wrote about this Bible story once before, when a bottle of dish washer liquid seemed to last a couple of weeks past what I had estimated. Was it my poor eyesight and fading estimation skills or was it God letting that bottle stretch a little farther?
The story of Nathan’s friend Jeff reminds me of when I got the job at the NASA project in Mississippi. Everything fell into place at the project, while the funding lasted, but our house in South Carolina would not sell. We were ready to turn in the keys when a buyer came forward, a church pastor and an answer to prayer.
There is something to be said for staying the course. If it is God’s will, God will provide. The thing that I have learned is that the voice saying that it is God’s will might be a demon or simply your own voice. Having the wisdom to know the difference makes all the difference.
And to know the difference, it requires a lot of prayer and prayer without an agenda. If you go into the prayer with “this is what I want” in your mind, you may, without hearing a single word from God, get the idea that God is behind the idea.
I don’t think that is just me. I think it is natural, especially when what we are doing is for God’s glory.
Pray, then when you run out of things to pray about, the real prayer gets started. Wisdom often comes when you wait for that real prayer.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.