One major thing I have noticed when helping a neighbor or a friend is noticing when they want to do whatever they are doing under their own accord or with their own money. This “let me do it myself” is a stubborn and wonderful attitude. It is a balance of helping and not diminishing their pride because they don’t have enough, it provides them to be a provider and not feel like they are in a hand-me-out state of living. This is a feeling of maintaining financial independence in some cases OR this is a feeling of being OK to work or to drive (if they are older), to live independently, to have “freedoms” and comforts.
For us as helpers, it’s always a balance of helping or hurting, empowering or enabling. To someone who can walk, we may see when someone is struggling to walk but won’t take help – but put yourself in their shoes, you also would want to walk on your own. Same with working. Same with money to someone struggling: lend $10 instead of give, don’t ask for it back, let them repay – and if they forget, you also forget. You ALSO would want to feel the dignity of paying your own bill or completing a task. You would not want help unless you really really needed it. However there are times we really do need to ask for help.
People want to pay their own way, maybe don’t mind a coupon, but want to prove to themselves (and maybe others) that they are OK. This is ego self-worth pride that empowers, not pride too high or too lofty. We should be respectful of people who want to empower themselves to help their situation back to being “OK”. We also want to walk in dignity not excessive pride.
Obviously there are dire need times too. The Lord God will guide us in all.
A Biblical example: the widow’s oil, oil, oil…. Here we see yet another miracle of provision and teaching by God thru the words of Prophet Elisha’s instructions. Elisha ASKS “how can I help, what do you have” (she has oil) then tells this widow (in debt and about to lose her sons to slavery) to collect all the empty jars she can, and put her oil into them. Get empty jars from her neighbors – just get them – get as many as she can… WELL! Wouldn’t you know it but the widow and her sons were able and enabled and WORKED at the work of God – and filled the jars and poured enough oil to then sell and earn the money to pay off the debt. When the jars stopped, the oil stopped. WOW! A miracle of making due and making money and making mercy and making motivation. Elisha asked how he could help them help themselves.
We get and need such motivation – that we would work as if our children’s lives depended upon it (well don’t they?) – that we would trust what seems like busy work or a foolish task could turn into something fruitful and profitable for us or for someone else. What about the Lord? Would our work (whether we understand it or not) be profitable for the Lord if the Lord Himself put us to task doing it? YES. Our strengths and talents and deeds that can be attributed to the Lord are what the Lord has put us to task doing. We may not see the full effects of the payout but we must trust He needs us to keep pouring His oil oil oil.
Keep pouring out HIM HIM HIM and HIS BLESSINGS BLESSINGS BLESSINGS and see how many jars you can fill up! It is like that favorite scene in “The Bishop’s Wife” (Christmas movie of fiction) where the Professor had an endless bottle of the finest sherry which does not inebriate but inspires, this action thru an angel (Carey Grant) for helping the writing of his book on Rome, but MORE IMPORTANTLY for helping his FAITH. This miracle is recognized by the Professor as only something an angel could do. Well, we SHOULD call out when we recognize the events and blessings and miracles only God could do. We should strengthen our faith. (HE DOES DO LOTS OF MIRACLES WE DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT).
I have seen the provisions God has made, enabling my education and me that I have a job to pay for living expenses, God helps me with my debts. My kids have grown up to beautiful young people – this IS a provision from God – to see them grow – to grow them and to be with them. All good things are from God. Preparing for the future, also important. God helps us.
Helping pay debts.
The widow poured out her heart to the Prophet Elijah, knowing he was a man of God. We can pour our hearts out to Jesus – to God – to His Plan – tonour helpful Holy Spirit- to our Hopes. The widow took whatvshe haf and then poured out the blessings of oil, filling jars, selling the material and making a difference in her sons lives. We can pour out the blessings of whatever gift God gives and make a difference in other people’s lives – especially by our cheer and hope. We can use our stability and income to help another on their way.
And we remember that Jesus poured out His blood to fulfill the scriptures and secure our salvation from being earthly slaves to sin and death. HE PAID OUR DEBTS – like the widow was able to pay off hers, freeing her sons from slavery. Jesus did the same. WE ARE FREE IN JESUS…
Let the LOVE, oil, and blessings FLOW.
2nd Kings 4
The Widow’s Olive Oil
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” 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.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”