The Oil that Didn’t Run Out

Posted: January 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

There is a story in 1 Kings 17 about a widow who was preparing to make her final meal, eat it with her son and then wait to die.  When Elijah arrived at her house he was hungry because of a drought in the land so upon his request the lady made him a meal before making a meal for herself and her son. Because she was obedient her oil from her oil jug never ran out and she, her son and Elijah had food throughout the drought, never to worry about it again.

So, in this process of starting a church here in Seattle in the midst of a recession it has been somewhat of a drought. People just don’t have the extra income to give. Many of our new Body of Christ are without jobs or have minimal part-time jobs that aren’t covering their own bills. Times are tough and money is tight.  Kristine and I have constantly been shocked by the amount of money that it takes to live in this city, to have a house, four boys in school and a constant flow of people in our home as guests, and the persistent desire to help others out financially.

Another “drought” of sorts when moving to a new city is a lack of friends. It is hard to find friends and often this is something that takes a couple of years, in this case it may take longer just because of the reason we are here. Our time and focus is so much different than most people we meet.

Another “Drought” in my life is the constant pouring out spiritually that we face without much being poured into us.  As in all ministry posts, but with this one even being more demanding, we are continually giving spiritually to others. We are building into the Aurora community, establishing relationships with business owners, caring for the homeless and down trodden, counselling, mediating, praying, speaking, etc. Our own spirits get emptied quite fast and it feels often like a drought has come on our “Land.”

But God is providing an “Oil Jug” that is not running dry.  Let me explain…

This past Sunday Kristine had a surprise 40th birthday party for me. It was awesome! A year and a half ago we knew no one here in Seattle. On Sunday she packed 50 people into our home to wish me a happy birthday. It was an amazing day!

We were able to go out on Tuesday, my birthday, to a very nice restaurant, Dahlia Lounge. We got to dress up and spend such a wonderful time together. It really filled us emotionally and spiritually. We could do this because someone had given us a gift card to this establishment.

Sundays have been really sweet. God continues to give me words to encourage others with and to be able to teach Epic Life from his well of wisdom. He has been filling me up even when I feel so empty. He has been running over and continues to do so.

This past Wednesday I found out three very difficult things. All great losses to me. One I can’t speak about yet, but it broke my heart, I then found out a friend of mine from Minnesota lost his 14 year old son to Meningitis, then Epic Life’s accountant called me and said we were going to be about $2500 short for taxes and pay roll for the middle of this month (this is the same conversation we have had every month since opening day Oct.4th).  I drove south through the rainy city crying and praying for a couple of hours. Leaned on Kristine when I got home.

Thursday our accountant called me and said, “You guys are like the widow whose oil never ran out.” I don’t know where it came from but the money showed up. We have come to the end of each month and somehow the money has arrived, I am continually amazed! And, we have $50 left over!

Can my friend get his son back? No. But maybe God has placed me in his life at this time to encourage him to flee into the arms of God, whom he currently does not know.

Is reconciliation going to come to this other situation? I pray so, but that depends on the choices of the individuals involved. For now I can pray and thank God that even in this “drought” his grace will never run dry.

I am sure that at the end of January we will once again come to the place of seeing that the outflow isn’t going to match the inflow, but let’s face it, the widow had no inflow and continualoutflow. We are confident that God brought us here for the long term and to start more churches in Seattle so even if we have no money, friends, or emotional and spiritual investment coming in we will always have enough.

  1. Leroy Hurt says:

    Even rainy Seattle can be a desert when we look at the spiritual dimension. The blog item makes an important connection about the story of the widow whose jar of oil never ran out, but it never filled up either. She always had enough of the essentials to get through the day.

    Maybe this is also a call to reflect on our expectations to understand what’s essential and what’s not. Maybe pointing out the image of the widow having no inflow but continual outflow reminds us to stay outwardly focused and faith the inner resources will be there when we need them.

  2. Sue says:

    You’re plugged into God’s power supply and that is unlimited. “My purpose will be accomplished and I will accomplish my good pleasure”and Isaiah 40:28-31. Be careful to delegate though Keith, you are a human and we grow weary. WE need partners, rest and God’s renewing.

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