What If We Were Brave Enough to Open Our Hands?
I opened the refrigerator to find it completely empty. We knew the day had been coming, but it was sobering to be able to see past the bare metal shelves to the plain white plastic walls of the fridge. Empty.
I had five days until payday.
2 Kings 4:42-44 (ESV)
42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” 43 But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’” 44 So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the LORD.
Digging into God’s Word
Shortly after I graduated from college and started my first real job, I resigned that teaching position without another job in place. I know, smart, huh? I landed a job in the publishing industry fairly quickly, but I had spent my last penny on the U-Haul trailer to bring my belongings to a new location.
A couple of weeks into the new job, rooming with a friend who was making a tiny internship salary, I opened the refrigerator to find it completely empty. We knew the day had been coming, but it was sobering to be able to see past the bare metal shelves to the plain white plastic walls of the fridge. Empty.
I had five days until payday.
My roommate remembered that the youth group she led at church had made pizzas for a fundraiser. Through an unexplained miscalculation, some pizzas were left in the church freezer. Guess how many? Five.
We did a quick accounting to make sure it was OK to eat the pizzas: Did they actually belong to someone who had ordered and forgotten about them? No, they were fair game.
For the next five days, I ate a slice of pizza for breakfast, packed a couple of slices for lunch, and finished off that day’s pizza at supper. I tried to forget that they were made with teenage hands and fully processed ingredients.
I smile even now, remembering God’s faithfulness to me, a little college grad who had left her teaching position in a parochial school and was no longer in official ministry for Him. He is so compassionate.
What if I wouldn’t have opened my hands to the sad little homemade pizzas in the church freezer?
In our Bible reading today, the man brought Elisha and the school of prophets his firstfruits. Notice that God was providing for people in the midst of a famine. In human terms, though, the small loaves and grain that fit in the man’s sack were not nearly enough to feed one hundred people. They would each get a bite or two. How embarrassing would that be? But God had told Elisha, “They shall eat and have some left” (verse 43). Elisha assured his servant of this promise.
So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the LORD. (verse 44)
What if the servant, out of embarrassment, had been too timid to open his hands and take the gift of the bread? What if the men waiting to eat had scoffed at the meager supplies?
They would have missed out on God’s provision for them.
What provision has God given you that, if you opened your hands, could bless you beyond your expectations?
You won’t ever regret this time. As you are able, spend time with God, reflecting on these questions or journaling your thoughts.
- What good gifts has God given you? List them, name them. Perhaps you’ve recognized them as coming from God all along. Maybe a few will be a revelation to you!
- In the stillness, take a few minutes to consider whether God is offering a provision to you that you feel embarrassed to take. Maybe it seems too small, or maybe it is overwhelming and you are scared to open your hands to accept it. Let this concept roll around in your head this week.
- Say thank you! It feels so good to return thanks. Go ahead and gush to God about how thankful you are for His provision in your life! If you have trouble thinking of your own words, check out Psalm 136, which starts with this verse:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
4. Do you want to sing? Check out the song “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin.
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