Out Of Nothing
2 Kings 4: 42-44 (NRSVA)
42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, ‘Give it to the people and let them eat.’ 43 But his servant said, ‘How can I set this before a hundred people?’ So he repeated, ‘Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord, “They shall eat and have some left.”’ 44 He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.
We sometimes look around us and we think we’re the only ones here. Every responsibility seems to fall on us. Maybe we’re the ones organising, or maybe we’re facilitating, or maybe we’re arranging and providing. One of the best ways I’ve ever heard that feeling described was by Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings when he is preparing for his Eleventy-first birthday party and Gandalf asks how he’s feeling about all the organising and arrangement. Bilbo says: ‘I am like butter spread over too much bread.’
We always think we are going to need more than we have. Look in your cupboards and how many days food do you have to survive? Look at the oil lamp in your car, how far can you get? Look at the heating gauge on your boiler, how many more days will you be warm?
Sometimes in our own self-empathising way, we don’t fully appreciate what it is to have nothing and forget that it is out of nothing that we all came. God can do a whole lot with nothing, much more than we could ever do.
Elisha knew that in this story today. When his servant was thinking there wasn’t going to be enough, Elisha had the confidence to offer it anyway and everyone was filled.
When we do things God’s way, instead of our own way, he has a miraculous way of ensuring there is complete uninterrupted satisfaction. We’re enabled to be satisfied by the small things. We’re content with planting seeds and growing mustard trees. When we give in God’s name, he fulfils according to his provision and he overflows with unending joy, grace and mercy by which all will be fed.
God of all provision
We rest in the small things
knowing that with a faith
blessed by your goodness
growth is certain
what we have is enough
and what we don’t need
we can give away.