“Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
This is what Elisha asked the widow who had lost everything when her husband died and was about to lose her sons to indentured servitude. When all seemed lost, Elisha had her focus on what she DID have. (See 2 Kings 4:1-7)
Expressing gratitude is a lot like this. It’s focusing on what we DO have. The enormity of blessings we carry about each day often goes unnoticed because of seemingly more pressing issues: the many trials and tragedies also encountered in this life.
The widow had a pressing issue. The creditor was coming to take her children. We can understand and empathize with her anxiety and fear. She had nothing left in the house but a jar of oil.
The prophet Elisha’s advice was unexpected. He advised her to go and borrow empty vessels from her neighbors. He instructed her to fill them with what she DID have. Somehow, that jar of oil filled ALL the vessels she could find. Thus, she was able to pay off the creditor.
You might say it was a miracle. But I think it was God letting us in on a Kingdom of God reality. Sharing what we are thankful for causes an increase in feelings of contentedness and peace. It seems to attract more good, whereas fear and anxiety attract a negative outcome. Jesus said it this way in Mark 4:25: “For whoever has, to him more will be given.”
Whatever we focus on, more of that seems to occur. Kingdom living involves focusing on what we do have. It seems fitting here to note that throughout the Bible oil is used to symbolically represent the Holy Spirit. The most priceless treasure we have on this earth is the indwelling Holy Spirit. Receiving this gift means we have everything we will ever need for a good life. (See 2 Peter 1:3)
If we know we are blessed and have much to be thankful for, we will enjoy our life and not feel needy, even when everything is not going our way. Those empty vessels around us will be filled by the overflowing oil of our gratitude.
Friend, we are grateful for you! Grateful that God created you. Grateful for your friendship. Grateful for what only you can bring to this world. We are grateful for your prayers, encouragement and care for us as we minister the gospel to those we meet.