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Elisha and Borrowing Vessels
A. B. Earle
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Increase, Letting God Use What One Has.

TITLE: Elisha and Borrowing Vessels

Almost any one will sell you goods they have to part with, if you can pay for them, but few will lend you, if you are poor. There is a beautiful incident illustrating this in the fourth chapter of the second book of Kings, and also full of rich instruction.

A good minister had died, evidently in middle life, leaving his family not only poor, but in debt. Perhaps his salary was too small to support them. Or, perhaps the parish had neglected to pay what they had promised. Or, worse yet, the minister or his wife, or both of them, did not know how to economize.

There was evidently a fault somewhere. For they that preach the gospel shall live of the gospel. It was sad enough for the wife and two children to be left alone and very poor. But to have bills come in for goods she knew they had used, which she was utterly unable to pay, was very crushing to her in her deep affliction. These creditors also told her that, if there was no other way to pay them, they should sell her half-grown-up sons time until their dues were paid.

In her deep trial she went to the prophet Elisha for counsel and help. He inquired how much she could pay, or just what she had in her house. She told him, Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house save a pot of oil.

This she was carefully keeping, no doubt, against the day of extreme need.

The Divine directions were that she should go out through all the neighborhood, and borrow empty vessels such as were then used, and would hold oil. Not partly filled vessels, but empty ones. Now, if she borrows, the neighbors must have confidence in her. She was to bring these vessels to her own house.

God gave her favor in the eyes of these acquaintances, and perhaps none refused her. She soon filled her house with these vessels. Her success was far greater than she could reasonably expect.

She was now to call her sons into the house, and shut the door upon them all. Instead of Elishas doing it for her, she must take up her pot of oil, and pour out into all the vessels she had borrowed, at least until the oil stayed. So she poured out, and the boys brought the vessels to her, and carried them away.

Her oil, like unused religion, was stiff and candied, and did not run very freely at first. But at last it got warm, and ran freely.

Like our feeble love to Christ, it was multiplied and greatly increased by being poured out. There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth. With the oil running more freely than at first, she said to her sons, Bring another vessel. But every vessel in the house was full, and the oil stayed.

Enough of the oil was then sold, and all her debts paid, dollar for dollar, and plenty left for her and her sons to live on. She could now meet her creditors with pleasure, looking them all in the face, God was honored by it, and her sons could remain under her influence and care, and sing with their mother a sweet doxology of praise for what God had done for them.

Let us learn from this incident to increase our ability and means of doing good by using what little we have. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength".

A. B. Earle, From: Incidents Usedů In His Meetings, published in 1888.

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