Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. 2 Kings 4:3-4 KJV
Apologies for being a day late in writing. I hope you remembered where we stopped last time. In the previous article, we started looking at the widow who came to Elisha for help, and the suggestions Elisha gave her for breaking the poverty cycle. First of all, the woman was to identify that which she had in the house. The same thing with us too. Each of us has something with which we can influence our world, create value and break the poverty cycle. Though educational attainments and connections are important, what matters most in life is self-discovery. Look around you, look within you, do not be blind to the potentials and gifts that God has given you for impacting your world.
Now, having identified that she had a jar of oil, Elisha gave her further instructions – “Go, borrow vessels from all your neighbours, even empty vessels. Borrow not a few.” What are the implications of these instructions to us today in our pursuit?
A. Every skill or gift must be packaged: Elisha told the woman that she needed to get vessels to package her oil. It is true that the oil appeared to be small, but the power of God was going to move to cause that small oil to become great if only the widow will find vessels where to pour them in. So, Elisha told her in essence to look for vessels to package her product. This is one question that must confront anyone who seeks a portion in earth’s space – how do I package my skill, gift, or product so that it can have a sale-value?
It is one thing to say that you can write, but how can that be packaged? You may be gifted to sing, skillful in playing instruments, a seasoned multi-media expert, or teacher, etc. Whatever it is that you have identified as what you have, you will still need vessels to pour them in. People have no value for an unpackaged gift. Any man who identifies his/her gift, must them grapple with the question of where do I pour these gifts in?
The irony of our world today is that there is NOTHING, absolutely nothing, that cannot be packaged. There is no knowledge acquired, no skill that you possess, no information that you have, that cannot be poured into a vessel.
I have a YouTube channel which I opened carelessly last year. For months, I was the only subscriber and viewer. Then, one day, I participated in a Facebook Live programme where a certain man of God was celebrating his birthday. He sang a song which I had never heard before then. The song so caught my heart that I saw myself navigating a 6-hour long video on Facebook just to get to where he sang the song so that I will play it again and again. The process was so stressful that I started looking for the song online to see if I could get just the song. My search that night was entirely futile. Then a thought came to my heart suggesting that I could help make this song available online so that others can listen to it and be blessed. Using my knowledge of video editing, I downloaded the 6-hour video, cut out the song portion and uploaded it on my YouTube. I did not even put a subscribe button or try to encourage people to watch it, neither did I use any eye-catching thumbnail. I only shared it to my friends on WhatsApp, and just once. Fast forward to this day (not up to a year), that song has given my uneventful YouTube channel more than 25,000 views and over 300 subscribers. I am even trying to race to catch up with the channel’s growth rate because I do not have any overriding passion for video production. However, the channel grew because I solved a problem with it. I gave people information which they needed and could not get elsewhere.
It is a matter of wisdom and strategic thinking, and God remains (as a matter of first importance) the source and spring of all wisdom. So, go to him and he will open your eyes to the vessels wherein to pour your gifts.
B. Relationship is chief capital: Most times when we are set to push forward our gifts, skills and services, we think that our greatest problem is money (or lack of capital). We believe that if we had all the money to get this or that, we will be able to make it in life. However, for this widow, what she needed in order to have vessels to package her oil, was a good relationship with her neighbours. She definitely did not have money to purchase vessels, but she could go round her neighbours’ houses borrowing empty vessels. Just moving round her neighbours’ houses, she gathered enough vessels than she would never had afforded were she to purchase them by herself.
This understanding has helped many people to a start in life. When I decided to start utilizing some of my skills and abilities, I did not have much to start up with. So, I offered my services to those who needed it free of charge. With time, I grew in my skill and confidence enough to start charging fees for my services. However, those early days of just growing were very important. I simply borrowed vessels from my friends and I poured. Even when I did not have a laptop, I would not mind borrowing a friend’s own just to get his work done in time.
Instead of complaining that we do not have money to purchase vessels, we can learn to build good relationships with our friends and neighbours, and learn to borrow from them to run our lives. What I am saying is that you must not use your own money to purchase things before you can start. You can leverage on another man’s empty vessel to rise.
Taking another scenario, assuming your challenge is that you want to acquire some skills and yet do not have enough money to pay for all the retinues of masterclasses and all that, you can still leverage on relationships to learn those skills. There are people who are knowledgeable in those skills who benefit from you in one way or the other. Why not leverage on those relationships to ask them to teach you. Also, so much information on skills and procedures are available online on social media platforms. Leverage on them to learn.
C. You must shut the door: I do not want to read too much meaning into this, but let me say this in passing: time is needed to focus on yourself if you will break the poverty cycle. That is why we must be careful the way we fill our lives with activities. Sometimes, ‘idleness’ is better than some kind of jobs that some of us pick up. When you pick up a job that never allows you time for personal development and discovery, how do you expect to discover your gifts, understand the needed vessels, or even have time to pour? This is not to say we should not work for others, but we must be careful how we go after working opportunities; because some ‘short-term’ solutions to poverty are the reasons why poverty will stay with a man for a long time.
D. Finally, this is the charge I want to leave to everyone reading this article, have you articulated your gifts? Have you answered that question, “What do you have?” If yes, how do you intend to package it? The world will like to hear from you. All around you are vessels. Your YouTube account is a vessel. Your Facebook account is a vessel. The people around you are vessels. The instruction is to “Go, borrow vessels” and start pouring. Do not allow anything around you to waste.
Tomorrow, I will talk about a matter which for me is the greatest point in this issue of breaking the poverty cycle. However, I encourage you not just to read, but to take these things to heart.
God bless you.