Over and over in the bible, we are reminded that our God is a God of Plenty. God is never short of resources; he owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and no task or situation is beyond his capability. And yet the resources of God are almost always activated and released when we muster what little resources we have and offer them up in faith.
In 2 Kings 4, we read of a desperate widow in debt who reaches out to Elisha, the prophet, for help. Elisha asks her, ‘What do you have in your house?’. Her reply is ‘nothing at all except a small jar of olive oil’. Even that small offering is enough. Elisha instructs her to borrow as many empty jars as she can and begin to pour her small insignificant jar of oil into the many empty jars. To her great surprise, the God of Plenty ensures that the oil flowing from her small jar continues to flow until all of the jars are filled. Apart from this being a miraculous event, Elisha tells her that she can sell the jars and pay off all her debt whilst still having plenty left for her and her son to live off for many years.
This outrageous pattern is mirrored later in the bible as a young boy offers up a few loaves and fish in faith, and the God of Plenty stretches it to feed 5000 men plus women and children. Gideon reduces his army to as small as 300 men, yet they step out in faith against a much larger army and are victorious. The pattern, I believe, tells us something about the very nature of God. Not only does God respond to us acting faith, but he is so generous that we not only end up with our own needs met but often end up with plenty left over with which we can bless others.
I have lived long enough to know that a simple application of this principle doesn’t play out in every case, and I often struggle with prayers that seem to go unanswered or problems that don’t seem to get solved. And yet I still feel drawn to these stories and what they tell me about the nature of God and his heart towards us. I still believe that in any situation where I feel inadequate and lacking resources of any kind, my best posture is offered whatever I have to God, no matter how small and insignificant they seem to me, and then to humbly ask God to draw from his plentiful resources and add them to mine.
This week, I am recommitting again to do the things I know I should do, to offer whatever I can and then to trust that God will bring the real increase. I suspect God will likely take great joy in ensuring we have all we need to get his work done and plenty left to bless others with.
Steve Drinkall is the Manager of Mission Engagement, Queensland Synod office.