“Have you writing anything for the blog lately?”
It’s a question I have been getting a lot over the last few months. And one I have come to cringe when I hear.
I usually roll my eyes, give a long glaring stare as if to say “shut up”, or give an unusually perky “nope” to subliminally say “topic is over.”
But that is just what I dream of doing. In reality, I normally just use the excuse that life has been too busy to sit down and spill my guts onto my MacBook. But this blog is built on honesty and vulnerability so let me go ahead and be real honest with ya…that’s not really true. You always make time for what you love. I just don’t want to write.
My pastor recently was speaking on the story in 2 Kings about a woman at her wit’s end who witnessed a miracle through her obedience. In short, the woman and her son were about to die because she had nothing left to eat and no money to buy anything. Elisha, the prophet, rocked up on the scene and told her to get some jars. And as long as she had jars, the oil would continue to flow. (Full story in 2 Kings 4:1-6.) And Pastor Steven said something that illuminated why I had come to hate that question about writing so much. He said this:
the enemy cannot stop your supply but he will have you start to despise your oil.
Okay. Let’s back up and have a Sunday School moment, shall we? Context to stories is often key. It is where we gain clarity. (I’ll get back to the whole writing bit in un momento.)
The woman and her sons were about to die. And Elisha asked her how he could help. Before she could answer he asked a more pointed question, “What do you have?” (We all have one of those people in our lives don’t we? The kind that asks 17 questions before you even have finished the answer to the first one. ) The woman’s answer is a lot like many of ours, “nothing”. She replies. But then Holy Spirit must have prompted her because she followed it with, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
Could it be that the woman had begun to despise what she did have because of the lack of opportunity to use it?
I do this with a bottle of perfume I have. It is my absolute favorite perfume but they have discontinued it. Now, to buy a bottle on Ebay I would have to pay $700. So do I use it? Of course not! That bad boy sits on my dresser with about 5 sprays left in it for a special occasion. I don’t know how special that occasion has to be, but it hasn’t popped up in the last 10 years that it has had those last 5 sprays. They all seem not special enough.
Or maybe she didn’t despise it because of the lack of opportunity to use it. Maybe she despised it because it seemed too insignificant in spite of her need. A little oil? “Those last few drops will only give me enough to make one loaf of bread,” she may have thought. “Then what? It just postpones starvation for a few more days. It’s not enough so what does it matter?”
Here is where we loop back to the whole writing bit. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Words are my oil.
As you may have noticed by my lack of presence on this page, I have come to despise it. A bit for both of the reasons I listed above. I have so little time or opportunity to pour my words on to a page or through a microphone to create a podcast. I have too little to say, so why say anything at all? My words aren’t going to change the world. So is it really worth the time and investment to craft them perfectly?
Or I am given an opportunity to share a leadership thought or teaching at church, but I don’t want to because it makes me uncomfortable or like I am fair game to people’s criticism or judgment.
My oil is no longer flowing. The oil will flow if I choose to grab the vessels I have available to me. I have just chosen not to pour because I have come to despise my oil.
What about you? What is your oil?
What is the thing God has given you to be poured out, but it seems like you may never have the opportunity or seems too insignificant? Have you come to a place where you are despising your gift?
Your nurturing spirit? Hospitality? Your ability to gather and connect people?
We have all been given a measure of oil. But we hoard what we have for fear of scarcity. We despise what we have because it seems insignificant. We put the oil we have in the far corner of the closet because it seems too insignificant to even pour out.
Do you have a heart for injustice but feel like your voice is too small to create any change? Don’t let the overwhelming need paralyze you. Choose to do for the one what you wish you could do for the thousands.
Do you have a way of creating spaces that make people feel at home and welcome (and I am not talking about Joanna Gaines aesthetics I am talking about an environment – a safe space)? But your house is a mess because you are a mom of three. So you just don’t invite people over. Can I tell you that some of my favorite moments with people were in their homes when they shared a pot of drip coffee and floors that were littered with toys?
How about a job you have that seems to have no meaning? Could the meaning come from the fact that you show that not all Christians are the same? That we aren’t all condemning and judgmental of their less than perfect lives and choices.
We have all been given oil. And I believe that something in your heart has been stirring as you read this as to what yours might be. If we all have oil, the questions bears to be asked:
Are we pouring?