Everybody loves LOVE!
In fact, when it comes to what is most important to God, I think love is at the top of his list. There are over 550 scriptures about love in the Bible. One of the most famous is 1 Corinthians 13:13, “These three will last forever – faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is LOVE.” John 3:16 says, “God so LOVED the world that he gave his only son…” God is all about LOVE, and God IS LOVE.
Since God is all about love, it makes sense that we should be all about love too!
Over the last 30 years Rob and I, and our ministry team have done our best to create an environment at Shoreline Church, where love is infused into every part of what we do. The result has been mind blowing as we’ve watched people from every background and walk of life experience the unbridled LOVE of God!
However, as wonderful as love is... we’re not always good at it. Let’s take a look at a story from the Old Testament that will give us a few pointers on getting better at love.
In 2 Kings 4 we read about a woman who lost her husband and had no money to take care of her 2 sons – bill collectors were going to sell her and her sons into slave labor if she couldn’t pay her bills. She reached out to Elisha, a miracle - working prophet for help. Elisha replied, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” Elisha then instructed her to go around to all of her neighbors and ask for their empty jars, then go inside her house and pour oil into all of the jars.
GOD WANTS TO USE YOU!
Often times we want God to do a quick work and make all our relational problems better – we want instant love miracles, but God wants US to be involved in the process of the miracle. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, ACCORDING to his power that is at work in US.” God’s plan involves you and me. With the widow it involved her gathering some jars. He wants us to be his hands and feet and resources to LOVE the people we know! In fact, we’re all he’s got to be his expression of LOVE in the world. What an honor and privilege to be a part! God wants to use you!
WHAT DO YOU HAVE?
Elisha asked her a question… “What do you have?” In other words, what can you give God to work with? Her answer was, “I have nothing at all.” God wants to use our lives to bless and help and LOVE others but often the first thought we have is: “I don’t have anything, I can’t be used by God.” We think, “Surely God, if you want all those crazy people in my life to be loved, you will use the pastor, or that established organization or all of the other, more qualified people…” But then the woman says, “Well, I do have a little bit of oil.” What she meant was, “Well I do have this tiny bit of something, but it is so small, I didn’t think it was even worth mentioning.” HELLO!! Never underestimate what God can do with the tiniest little bit. Jesus took a few loaves of bread and fish, and multiplied them to feed 20,000 people. So, if we will take a little closer look at what we do have – even if we think it’s worth nothing – we’ll see that there is always something we can give God to work with. Let me ask you, what do you have? What has God already graciously done in your life? It might be so small you are overlooking it. But I guarantee, you have something God can use! There’s a miracle he’s done in your marriage, with your kids, in your health or finances, or relationships. What is in your hand?
USE WHAT YOU HAVE.
Jesus tells a story called, the parable of the talents, about 2 men who multiplied the resources they were entrusted with, while the third man buried the one talent he was given – the master came back and said to the two who had used/multiplied what they’d been given, “Well done, good and faithful servants, you have been faithful over a little, I will make you ruler over much.” However, to the one who did nothing with his talent, he said, “Depart from me you wicked and evil servant.” The master continued by saying, in Matthew 25:29, “For whoever has, more will be given, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”
The worst thing we can do is sit around and do nothing with what we have.
When we exercise, our muscles grow... In the same way, when we use what God has given us, it grows. God has poured so much love into our lives, let’s be willing to pour out his love to everyone we come in contact with and watch LOVE grow!
DON’T BE AFRAID TO LOVE BIG!
The prophet told the woman “Ask for all the empty jars you can find… don’t just gather a few.” God is a big God – he loves to do big things! Jesus did big miracle after big miracle; He opened blind eyes, raised the dead, multiplied wine and food so there was an abundance left over! He LOVED in the biggest way as well… Those who were the worst of sinners: prostitutes, despised tax collectors, and even those who persecuted, mocked and crucified him. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”
HE LOVED BIG. Ask Jesus to help you LOVE BIG!
GOD WILL MULTIPLY YOUR LOVE TO RESCUE OTHERS.
In the rest of the story it says the widow began filling the jars her sons had brought her, and as each one was full she filled another jar, and another, until there was not a jar left. That’s when the oil ran out. This is a pure miracle! I think it’s worth noting that as many jars as she gathered, is how much oil she had. I bet if she had more jars, more jars would have been filled, or less jars filled, if she had less jars. The oil was multiplied according to how many jars she had. This is significant when we think about LOVE.
Maybe as many people as we are willing to LOVE – God will use us - to love!
Then the best news of all is that when the oil multiplied, she had enough money to pay all her bills, and enough resources to live on until the draught was over. The miracle RESCUED her and her entire family! The miracle multiplied!
God wants to multiply whatever is in your hands – whatever he has done for you – to help you love and rescue others!
He will use your once broken marriage that he rescued, to help a couple that needs hope. He will take your now healed body story to encourage someone who just got a bad doctors report. He will multiply your resources, so you can give financially in ways that will bring real change. He will use your story of depression, addiction, or whatever he has done for you... And multiply your love for those who need to be rescued in those areas too!
Father, help us to be aware of all you have richly provided and all you have done for us. Please multiply and empower us to use it to reach out in LOVE to rescue others who need to know that you are a God who LOVES them so much!