“NOW THE wife of a son of the prophets cried to Elisha, Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. But the creditor has come to take my two sons to be his slaves. Elisha said to her, What shall I do for you? Tell me, what have you [of sale value] in the house? She said, Your handmaid has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 2 Kings 4:1-2 AMPC
He had been part of the school of prophets which Elisha usually visited. He was indeed a man who feared God and was held in high esteem by men as a true prophet. Elisha had even preached at his funeral, and had enjoined and encouraged people to try and become like this man – selfless, humble and open to God, amongst many others. So, as he saw his widowed wife coming to see him, he thought there may be some information or the other which she wanted to relate to him. So, Elisha welcomed her to his house and asked her what he would do for her. It was then she broke down and began to cry.
Her husband was a debtor – owing many people. He was a great man, who feared God; but he was poor. Not just was he poor, he was a debtor. It is said that a good man leaves inheritance for his children’s children (Proverbs 13 vs. 22), but all he left for his family were unpaid debts. Now, the late husband’s creditors were coming to harass the family. They wanted to recover their money by all means, even threatening to take his two sons into slavery. Perplexed and confused, this woman ran to Elisha for help.
Now, there were many things Elisha could have done for her. He could have given her money to pay the debt, or maybe recommended her to a rich brother who will help her settle the debt. Elisha could have also spoken to the king on her behalf, or even empowered her to start a business of her own (if she so desired). The list of what Elisha could have done for her is endless, but he did none of these.
He simply asked her, “Tell me, what have you [of sale value] in the house?” He was asking her to declare her assets; the things that she could sell and recover the money; and she aptly replied, “Your handmaid has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” She had nothing in the house, nothing of sale value, except a little jar of oil.
You see, most times we are perplexed with our financial situation, and we are desperate to come out. However, all we do is move to some pastor, prophet or some influential brother or sister (financially or otherwise) to help us. Somehow, we hope they will pray for us and declare wealth upon us, or even support us financially to start a business, or even help us get a job. If they fail to do all of these, we become angry and bitter against them.
But Elisha had a solution for this woman, a solution that I want you who is reading this to also consider: “What do you have in your house? What thing of sale value is in your house?” You see, you are not poor because of the situation of things in the nation or because of your academic attainments, rather you are poor because there is something that you have in your house which you are not selling. The first problem may even be that you do not know you have it, or even if you do know that you have it, you treat it like that woman treated her jar of oil – “nothing except”.
Permit me to say, without sounding like a motivational speaker, that resident in every one of us, in our house, is that which will make us rich and help us break the poverty cycle; but all we see in it is “nothing”. All we want is to get a job in a good company where they will pay us well; so, we keep waiting for the job which is not forth-coming and so are blind to the possibilities that are inside of us.
God is not wicked as to trust your prosperity in that which is not in your hand. Getting a job in this country is not very easy. You can spend 3-4 years and even more looking for a job. Your case will even be harder if you do not have any persons in positions of power that will speak for you. In a nation, like ours, where excellence and hard work is not celebrated, it is easier for someone with the right persons in the right places to get a job, whereas the best brains around are tucked up somewhere unable to break through the limitations of their circumstances. But that is just one side of the story.
The other side is that God has not left your prosperity at the mercy of a job. It is not that until you get a good job in a great company, you will not prosper in life. If you have sought for job for some months and it has failed, have you considered looking inwards – to ascertain what you have in the house? That skill, ability, aptitude, asset which you are seeing as ‘nothing’ could be indeed the ‘something’ that will help you break the poverty cycle.
In my next article (next week), I will explore in details the dynamics of the instructions which Elisha gave the woman on how to turn that jar of oil into money. I will also share with you some personal stories of how I myself has journeyed in this direction (though I have not fully arrived). But for the meantime, I have an assignment for you to do this weekend. Declare your assets. Take out sometime alone with God and yourself, take a sheet of paper, and write down the things that you can do? Write down your natural abilities, the skills you possess already, your hobbies and any other thing of sale value in your house (in your life). Then take time to pray and ask God, “what can I do with this?” You can also do some research online and offline, and find out what possible values can come out of those skills. Take your time and do this, we will meet again next week Tuesday.