One of my favorite movies is Eat Pray Love. The main character, Liz, played by Julia Roberts says:
“There is a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man, who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging ‘Dear Saint, please, please, please let me win the lottery.’ Finally, the exasperated statue comes to life and looks down at the begging man, and says ‘My son, please, please, please buy a ticket.’ So now I get the joke. And I’ve got three tickets.”
Does that prayer sound similar to some of the prayers you have prayed to God? For example: Lord, please, please get me out of debt. Lord, please, please give me the desires of my heart. Well you are not alone. Another similar plea was also made in 2 Kings 4 by a poor widow to Elisha. The widow explained, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” I could only assume she probably prayed to God silently, Lord, please, please, please get me out of this debt and save my sons. The story says Elisha then asked her what did she have in her house? She replied “nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” So Elisha told her to pour all of her olive oil into jars. She did and Elisha went on to tell her in verse seven “now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.” So now “I” get the joke. I have been sitting on some of the answers to my own prayers right in my own house.
Sound familiar? Like sitting on books that you have been writing for years that needed to be published, sitting on your spiritual gifts God has bestowed upon you, scripts that you stored on a file on your computer that could possibly be the next hit T.V. sitcom, self-help books in your shelves that have never been read but are probably the answers you seek on how to get your financial breakthrough. You could be sitting on your next big break or breakthrough but are too busy pleading to God about what you don’t have instead of exhausting what God has already stored within you on what you do have. The beautiful thing I like about this story is Elisha’s immediate response to the poor widow as well as the end of verse seven. Elisha somehow knew that whatever this widow needed it had to be already within her own possession (in her house) and the end of the seventh verse shows how not only does what God already store within the poor widow’s house fix her and her sons problems, but that her and her sons could still live on whatever is left over. Isn’t that amazing? God has given us so much within us that not only can He fix our problems but also give us more than what we asked for. So not only have we been sitting on our ‘olive oil’, but of an overflow of our gifts and answers to our prayers that exceeds the desires of our hearts. How awesome is that!
So now my prayer has changed. Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me my spiritual gifts. I will no longer be the butt of the joke. So let’s get out and use what God has given us, and watch God overflow in our lives!