TEXT: 2 KINGS 4: 1 – 7
- The story
- The characters in the story
- The woman (the widow)
- She did not curse her deceased husband over her bad state.
- She did not say evil against God
- She knew that God is the father of the fatherless and the judge of the widows (psalm 68: 5).
- She believed in the assurance of God,that the seed of a righteous man shall not go begging for bread. (Psalm 37: 25)
- She took her complaints to God through Elisha, the Prophet.
- She had confidence in the man of God that her problems would be solved.
- The Prophet asked her, “What shall I do for thee?” (2 Kings 4: 2). It was a difficult question for her to answer because Prophets in those days did not have money. So what did she expect from the Prophet? She only complained to him. I know Jesus while on earth did ask the afflicted such question, like blind Bartimeaus, “what wilt thou that I should do unto thee” (Mark 10: 51). The Prophet then asked the woman again, “tell me, what hast thou in the house?” (Verse 3)
- The woman replied, “Thy handmaid hadth not anything in the house, save a pot of oil” (verse 3). The price of oil was always low, so what can a pot of oil fetch? Not enough to sell and defray a debt (Luke 16: 6 – 7).
- The Prophet instructed her to go and borrow as many empty vessels as she could, shut the door after them, pour the oil into all the vessels. This deal was between the Prophet, the Widow and her two children.
- She complied.
- If this information had leaked, the deal could have failed. The Prophet did not limit her to the number of empty vessels she could borrow. Lack of maximizing the opportunity could have not changed the situation for her. Eg Elisha, Joash the King of Israel and the Syrians (2 Kings 13: 14 – 19).
- The widow went back to report to Elisha after the deal.
- The prophet gave her the final directive, “Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest” (Verse 7). At all times, our God is “…able to do a exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…” Eph. 3: 20
- The deceased prophet – to be considered later
- The creditor – ditto
Let us now relate the story to our daily lives
- Our young widows: it is always sad to lose a young husband. She ought to cry and not overdo. Do not complain every day of your life over this. If you do not have any handwork, start something. Eg selling of groundnuts. Commit it into God’s hands and let the leadership of the Church pray over it too
- Are you an artisan (mason)? Do not complain that you don’t have anything doing. With your headpan, trowel and spirit-level, you can make it.
- An applicant? When there is no paid employment, leave the certificate aside, think of something to start with no matter how small. God can make it grow like the mustard seed. The widow said she had a little oil, but God made that little thing (the pot of oil) to change the life of her family.
- Unmarried, looking for a husband. Apart from praying to God personally, have you ever approached the eldership placing your problems before them. I know we normally pray generally for this category of persons but the face-to-face interaction with the eldership even an elder or the minister is more rewarding. In doing this, do not broadcast your intention to your friends otherwise they may discourage you.
- Childlessness: Children are God’s heritage and the fruit of the womb a reward (Psalm 127: 3). Even at this, you will need someone to entreat on your behalf. Keep your intention to meet with the elders to yourself otherwise, some may discourage you. And ensure that you open up to the eldership for proper advice. They are the spiritual doctors.
- And many others
Back to the characters in the story.
- The Debtor Prophet: We know it is not good to owe, but can we totally blame that prophet for owing? Did the people care for the prophet? Sometimes they took victuals to the prophets anytime they went for consultation, such as loaves of bread, honey and milk and for how many of the prophets. (2 Kings 4: 38 – 44).
Some Ministers of the gospel especially in the villages are poorly treated as the children of Israel
treated the prophets. Some of these ministers are paid Five Thousand Naira a month, and how
dothey survive with their families? Yet, within the congregation there are government workers and
business men etc. Why will the minister not owe. Why is it so difficult for a congregation to take care
of the minister. The attitude of the congregation may lead the poor minister to the habit of owing
both within and outside the congregation and the next step will beto disfellowship the minister for
owing. We must stem this tide. It is high time individual christians rescued these ministers. This
attitude made Paul lament in 1 Cor. 9: 7 – 11, with regards to non-adequate support to the ministers
of the gospel. It is not every minister who will work in the metropolitant churches.
I seize this opportunity to thank the Rural Preachers’ Support volunteers who have been coming to
the aid of these ministers including the one at Itighidi. We appeal to others to join this laudable act
for it attracts God’s blessings. (Matt. 10: 41 – 42).
- The Creditor:
This creditor held tenaciously to the Law of Moses which says where an Israelite debtor is unable to
pay a debt, he must be taken as a hired labourer by the creditor until he is able to pay his debt (Lev.
25: 39 – 40) but refused to adhere to the instruction from God that prophets should be well cared for
because they are servants of God. If this creditor had shown love for God, he could have let go the
debt since the deceased was a prophet, and the wife had no ability to pay back the debt. Even today
there are still some Christians who having given loans to some ministers and knowing quite well that
they are unable to pay back these loans still insist in getting back their money. And some may even
threaten to take them to court to recover their money. I am not encouraging Christians or ministers
to be owing. In a situation that the debtor is insolvent, it is appropriate that such debt be declared
In conclusion, let us trust in God, have confidence in our elders and ministers, try to use the little we
have to get what we want. Remember, you have something in your house, your hand, or brain. Let us
learn to support our ministers individually and collectively, within our congregations and outside our
congregations. This attitude will encourage young men to go into preaching profession. And God in
turn will bless us. Amen
UYO TOWN CHURCH OF CHRIST, 20 PAUL BASSEY STREET, UYO
SERMON DELIVERED BY BRO. NKEREUWEM U. AKPAN (ELDER) ON SUNDAY, 16TH DEC. 2018