Today's Lectionary Text
2 Kings 4:1-7
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.”
Imagine the initial response of the widow when Elisha told her to start pouring into the empty vessels: “Fill them with what, Elisha? All I have in the house is one jar of oil.” The woman has nothing with which to fill the empty vessels. Her reserves have been depleted.
I can relate. Can you? Pastors are expected to pour and pour and pour. Pour people into the pews on Sunday morning. Pour joy into all the children. Pour leadership skills into all of the committee chairs. Pour grace into every single person we meet.
Pour, pour, pour.
And because of our call, because of our vows, because we love Jesus and we love the Church and we love people, we just keep pouring and pouring and pouring until we have nothing left to give. We ourselves become empty vessels, needing to be filled.
The promise of the story from 2 Kings is that God always provides. Like those empty vessels in today’s reading, we will once again be filled, by God’s grace. We may feel empty, yet we do not need to feel anxious. The Lord is faithful. The Lord will fill us back up.
May the Lord bless you on this day. If you are full, pour yourself out. If you are empty, trust in the Lord. Whether your spiritual reserves are full or empty, rely on God to provide your every need.
-Rev. Lori Schwilling
Prayer for Reflection
Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and with a willing heart give myself to You this day. Amen.
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