November 9, 2016
Psalm 105:37 “He (God) brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person (weak, without force or effectiveness) among their tribes.”
Earn all you can: Take a Talent Inventory
The first step in your exit plan should be Earn All You Can according to the Law of Responsibility. We are responsible as believers to rise to the level of our giftedness, that is, be a good steward of the gifts and talents God has already provided.
Honestly examine and answer these questions:
- Are you passionate about your work? What drives your passion?
- Do you work “as unto the Lord?”
- Are you “under-employed” for your experience and talents?
- Are you willing to take on more work “for a season”?
Let’s consider Elijah’s Seven Steps to Prosperity for the Widow- II Kings 4:1.
1 Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Eli’sha, “Your servant my husband is dead; you know your servant feared the LORD, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2 Eli’sha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” She said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels of all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4 Then go in, shut the door upon yourself and your sons, pour into all these vessels; when one is full, set it aside.” 5 So she went from him and shut the door upon herself and her sons; as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil, pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
Step 1: Go! Once Elijah establishes “What she has at hand that she isn’t using,” he instructs the widow to go, leave her comfort zone and passionately impose on others. Her willingness would have accomplished little without her obedience. Her desperate condition was the motivation behind her actions. Also, she made this a family project. Her sons helped: their incentive? Stay out of slavery!
Step 2: Borrow empty vessels! Not a few. Elijah knew God would fill every vessel. Just as God gifts us with abilities and talents, He fills us with the Oil of His Anointing to make our tasks easy. Many of us have yet to identify our talents, passions, or calling because we are focusing on how little Oil (money, time, or energy) we have. We consider our current condition and fail to see where God wants to take us. Many choose to stay in a very miserable state because they are familiar with their circumstances. Had the widow been too uncomfortable or proud to borrow vessels from her neighbors, her sons would have gone to slavery and she would have starved. In borrowing vessels she simply got containers to hold the Blessing until she sold the oil. Ideally, she returned the vessels in better condition than she borrowed them.
Step 3: Shut the Door Shut-out all unbelievers, scoffers, mockers, who would tell her that “No way are you going to have enough oil to fill all those vessels!” Just as Jesus put everyone but believers out of Jairus’ house and shut the door, we must know when to take God’s instruction into our inner court of faith and obedience and shut the door. In life and death issues, these people did not have the luxury of wondering if, or why, or how God could change their circumstances. He simply had to provide.
Step 4: Pour the Oil After gathering vessels, pouring the oil relates to our actual day at work. Imagine the momentum of her pouring the oil, filling vessel after vessel as her sons ran to bring another, and another. Her thoughts, first of escaping debt, slavery, and death; then daring to think what she would do with the excess oil and money after paying her debt! Perhaps the best part of this story is that she was so busy pouring the oil that she had no time to look inside the original pot to see how much was left before she ran out. How often do we get caught up calculating how long until lunch? How many days until vacation? How many years until retirement? When my staff starts wondering around the office gathering orders for lunch, asking how much longer until they can clock out, I always comment that I must be over-staffed. With so much time to think about not working, they have too much time on their hands. If we answered the questions at the top of this chapter correctly, the day should fly!
The anointing of the Oil on our gifts and talents should:
- Keep our time and work flowing with ease
- Provide a smooth momentum to our day
- Provide the Oil of Joy to combat any spirits of heaviness
Her first time she thought of running out was when her sons had no more vessels and the Oil stopped. If we picture her wide-eyed, looking around the house to see if they were mistaken; if there was anything else she could use as a vessel; we can imagine her dismay that they had gathered so few vessels. Sad to consider, but many times we ask the Lord for provision and are so amazed at His results that we repent that we didn’t ask bigger! At some point, we need to recognize that our request is not going to deplete God’s supply.
Step 5: Sell the Oil Elijah commands her to go to work! Sell the oil. I’m convinced that God provides single parents with a special anointing to raise children, manage their household, and work some type of job-or two-or more. What were the alternatives had she not gone to work at gathering vessels, pouring oil, selling the oil? She and her sons would have been slave to her creditors. Today, she might easily have sat back complaining how unfair life has been to them; how abused they have been; how they were left to “do it all” on their own; resigning herself to a life of poverty and lack; being a destructive role model for her children, manipulating others with pity and sympathy, trying to appear worse off than others in their situation. Teaching her sons to underachieve; expect less. We create generations of healthy, bright people who end up under-educated, under-employed, under-privileged, under-productive, often blaming God for their misfortune. Review the parable of the man who was given one talent and did nothing with it. The Lord was very displeased with his example and even took the only talent he had and gave it to the productive servant. — Use it or lose it!
Step 6: Pay the Debts Very simply, to walk out of debt we simply need to Work all we can, Pay our bills, Spend less than we earn! The widow took the money she made from selling the oil, went to her creditors and paid her debts. Like anyone else, she probably had stumbled into debt from her life circumstances, perhaps her husband’s death. Most believers do not purposely go into debt. Satan provides opportunity for debt through challenges to our health, marriage, or career. We make unwise, emotional decisions regarding our finances. After serious prayer and obedience, God brings provision to us to pay our debts. Our responsibility is to quickly use those funds to pay the debt.
Notice, the widow did not take the money from her sales, pay the MINIMUM payment, and run to the mall for the latest sales! Or run to the local auto dealer to finance a new car! Or browse through the furniture store to find a great NO PAYMENTS! NO INTEREST FOR A YEAR! LIVING ROOM SUITE! Her integrity and obedience to repay her creditors released God’s blessings to flow continually.
Step 7: Live on the rest! Isaiah 1:19 exhorts us, “If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land.”
Because of her willing, obedient spirit, God brought this widow out of debt with silver and gold, and she ate the good of the land. Now, let’s consider a final point. Elijah told her to LIVE on the rest- not Retire! Certainly, Elijah did not expect to pass that way next year and find her emptying her last vessel of oil again! She got a revelation of Accountability. She built business strategies to gain and increase wealth. He expected her to support herself and sons until they were old enough to carry on the Widow & Sons Oil Business.
According to the Law of Responsibility, she rose to her level of giftedness and walked in provision rather than poverty. Initially, she was driven by survival. Quickly, she switched to a passion to succeed. She became a Giver, Working for a Giving! These Laws work for those who have committed to the Lord to be honest and diligent with the Talent they have at hand.
Shirley Noftsinger, co-founder of DebtFreeAmerica.com, holds a master's degree from Kent State University and spent fifteen successful years as a single parent. Her prospering is a result of her faith in the Covenant Blessings of the Lord outlined in their book, Paid In Full, Reset Your GPS for Goal Powered Spending.