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“How can I help you?”

2 Kings 4:1-17

Thursday, 11 May 2023

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." -2 Kings 4:2

In the ministry of Prophet Elisha, two notable miracles are recorded in our reading today and both deal with troubles in the lives of two women. In many of his miracles we can see the touch of kindness which is also visible in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here, one woman is a widow who is in a real trouble and the other is sufficiently wealthy but was barren with a heart longing for a child.

In two different contexts—one woman is the widow and other is the notable woman of Shunem (v.8) both are standing before the Prophet and he asks them similar questions – “How can I help you? “ In Jesus’ ministry also, we see that with compassion He asked several people: "What do you want me to do for you?" (Mark 10:51) The widow was in a crisis situation; her husband had passed away and his creditor was after her to take her two boys as his slaves. She had lost her husband and now she was about to lose her sons too. She approached the prophet because her husband had been a disciple of the prophet; also, he feared the LORD (v.1). After hearing her cries, he asks: Tell me, what do you have in your house? (v.2); she answers- Nothing there at all… except a small jar of olive oil. In her current situation she didn’t have anything to hide— the only thing left was a little oil. God multiplied that same little oil!-With which she could save her sons from the creditor. Many a time we see God use the little we have in our hands!- but a willful submission and obedience is required to fulfill His master-plan with that little!

What we see here is, faithfulness rewarded. The first woman’s husband had been a faithful disciple of the prophet; the second woman had faithfully hosted the prophet whenever he passed by- her hospitality was commendable. God fully rewards that kind approach- faithfulness without expecting a reward; without any delay she received the promise from the Lord and it was fulfilled in time (vs.16-17). The word of God teaches us about faithful service- “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'” (Luke 17:10)

Throughout God’s Word, we can see many, who were not so well-known or significant, but the Lord used them also to fulfill His mighty plan on the earth! We see Jochebed, Amram and Miriam (Exodus 2; 6:20) involved in their own way in saving Baby Moses and later he became one whom God used mightily. A harlot, Rahab because of her saving acts, become one of the ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). Ananias was an ordinary disciple living in Damascus, who God used to touch Paul, who came to be known as the Apostle to the Gentiles. The list is innumerable! Likewise, the widow who was crying for her children and the Shunammite woman who was hospitable didn’t expect any reward.

There are many “unsung heroes”—unknown men and women involved in the Lord’s work, small or big, but all in God’s plan. And through them, many others became useful in the Kingdom of God and it goes on! Let us ask others who are in need: How can I help you?” and glorify the Lord’s name through our kind and thoughtful acts!

To meditate: “…the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” -1Samuel 14:6



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