As the widow found in coming to Elisha (2 Kings 4), God would not be held hostage by the expectations around her, he instead would set her free with the exceptions; however, in the end it would all come down to whether she would allow herself to go from…
Empty to Excess! (2 Kings 4:5-7) 5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
Elisha didn’t magically give her enough oil to pay her bills; instead he reveals God’s plan was to allow her willingness to step out in faith to match his provision. God wasn’t something to be possessed, a check to cash, but took on flesh to be pursued! Think about it, if she would have only gone out, sheepishly, nervously, uncertainly asking for a few jars—3 or 4 from only her closet friends because she was nervous of the result—nothing would have changed her situation for a lifetime. It was in the midst of her problem that God’s provision was given in proportion to her willingness to trust Him! In the midst of our issues: health concerns, family problems, and difficult circumstances God gives as we trust. The widow’s experience overflows to the point of even leaving us with something. Instead of leaving saying God—If only you gave me more, I would do something for your kingdom that matters….we are left at a place able to say, “God, use what I have.” Look at how this works: Matthew 25, Jesus told us as much in a parable of the owner who was going out of town, giving his servants (talents) money to invest in his absence…to the first 5, to the second 2, to the third 1, and upon his return he had his servants present their results…the first doubled the 5 into 10, the second doubled the 2 into 4—both hearing their master declare, “Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much,” but the third took the 1 and buried it scared of his master—was casted away. -Jesus in feeding the 5,000 illustrated this principle for us—hearing that the people were hungry Jesus took an inventory of what was available—seemingly nothing, except a few loaves and fish, turning the expectations into a miraculous exception. David—when he confronted Goliath—didn’t have training, fancy armor, he had nothing, except a sling shot!
Sarah could have spent the night with Alice and decided that being without her bf and parents was too heavy a price to bear and simply got the abortion and spent the rest of her life trying to forget. Instead, relying on the exception, she stepped out in faith starting the process of learning how to become a parent, learning to provide for herself, longing to blow the expectations away! During the entire pregnancy, Alice and her husband Roger decided to welcome Sarah into their home not for a night but for as long as she needed. To invest instead of retreat. Not telling God, if you had only given me more money I would help the Pregnancy resource center help women like this, but instead using what she had—Taking on more in an already busy schedule—giving her time by taking her to doctor’s appointments, giving her support—before and after meetings at the Pregnancy Resource Center, giving up some gas and money–driving her to and from interviews, feeding two more mouths—not to bring glory to herself, but to allow for God’s excess to come from the world’s empty! To see God’s blessings from the world’s burden. SHE SEEMINGLY HAD NOTHING, BUT SHE HAD EVERYTHING THAT WAS REQUIRED TO SHOW CHRIST’S LOVE!
Maybe this morning life is good, money isn’t a problem, loss isn’t lingering in your life, and if so praise God—I want you to take an inventory of your life, remembering what Christ has done for you, and leave here today “being the exception!” It can be done—you’ve heard all about someone less than 2 hours away—change someone’s life. It didn’t come through hitting the lottery; it came from the power and presence of God working in her life. Maybe you came in this morning or are sitting there feeling like the widow, like you have nothing, like you are all alone. As the widow came to Elisha, I want you in prayer to go before God—looking at what you do have, instead of focusing on what is missing—and pray—“God, in your power, help me break free from the expectations of the world, use what is right in front of me—to find the wondrous exception.
In the case of Sarah—the expectations were abortion, and yet the exception goes by the name of Stella!