By Rev. Joyce Kramer
From the Bible
A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.”
So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.”
So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.”
And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”
What Do You Have in Your House?
This story contains an important lesson for each one of us. A widow came to the prophet Elisha asking for help. Her husband was dead. She was left with many bills, and her creditors were not content to wait any longer. They had decided to take her two sons as bondsmen in payment for her obligations. In those days, it was not uncommon for one’s children to be taken as servants to cancel debts. In desperation, she called on the prophet Elisha for guidance and help in doing something to save her sons. He asked her the question, “What do you have in your house?”
This lesson applies to us. Whatever is going on in your life is a result of what you have in your house, for your house is your soul or consciousness. At this very moment, you are experiencing the outer expression of that which you are holding within your own soul, which is the collective thinking and feeling aspects of your being.
Therefore, it is ridiculous to blame another person for our problems or to blame a condition or a situation for that which we are presently experiencing. Your own thoughts and feelings are the parents of the situation. You are the one who must face it and do something about it. Nothing else will bring forth lasting results.
The widow represents the soul experiencing lack. Do you ever experience lack in your life? If so, this lesson may then provide you with new understanding that will help you deal with such conditions.
When experiencing lack, she turned to the prophet. The prophet symbolizes that Spirit of God in us that guides, directs, inspires, and instructs us if we are willing. This guide may inspire us in the form of a thought or a hunch, a definite feeling of something that ought to be done. If we are wise, we learn to respond even if we can’t see why at the moment.
The one thing that the widow had left in the house was a pot of oil. Elisha told her to go and borrow all the empty vessels she could from her neighbors. As soon as this was done, she was instructed to take her sons into the house, shut the door to outer things, and begin to pour oil from the original vessel into the empty ones. The original oil may be considered that little spark of faith that is always within our soul. Sometimes it lies unused or misdirected, but the faith is there, and we should learn to direct our faith to God.
As we shut the door to doubts, fears, worries, and outer things and begin to pour out this faith, our good begins to come forth in the form of the fulfillment of any specific need. The widow was instructed to keep her mind from outer things and look to God as the source of her supply. As she poured, the vessels she had collected were all filled. Then the oil stopped flowing, but the original pot of oil remained full. When you pour out your faith in God, you cannot deplete the infinite supply He has provided for you, for there is no lack in Him. As much as you have expanded your mind to receive, you will.
If you believe God will provide you with just enough to get by in life, it will be so for you. If you believe you have to experience lack and limitation, so will this be for you. However, if you have faith that God will supply the fulfillment of your every need, you need never experience lack, for you have in your house what is necessary to bring forth any needed thing. In a case like this, God works through you, but never takes anything from you. You are simply the channel through which He works. Therefore, you cannot deplete His infinite supply; the increase will always be more than you give out.
Look at your own life. What is your need at the moment? Do you have faith that God is the fulfillment of your every need? That is the first step. The idea that God is the source of your supply must be accepted.
Suppose you need a physical healing. What do you have in your house? Do you believe God can heal any condition you may be experiencing in your body? Do you have in your house just a little faith in God’s activity in life? Now is the time to take into your house ideas of life, strength, and vitality, ideas of wholeness, health, and energy.
What you have in your mind and heart is going to out-picture in your life; therefore, it is well to have in your house these ideas relative to the activity of God’s life working in your body.
Do you need order and harmony in your life and affairs? Do you believe God working through you can restore order and harmony to all phases of your experience? Of course, He can, but you must take your thoughts and ideas into quietness and pour out that bit of faith on them. Use your thoughts and feelings to feel the activity of God working through you to accomplish what is needed. God will do nothing through us that we are opposed to. We oppose His good by holding conflicting beliefs, thoughts, and feelings.
God has already supplied you with the ability to experience order and harmony, but you must work within your house to become conscious of order and harmony. Is there order and harmony in your mind? Are your thoughts harmonious and orderly or are they confused, turbulent, and frustrated? Think about order. What does it mean in regard to your thoughts? What does it mean in regard to your outer living affairs? As you bring these ideas into your house, your life can then out-picture them in your day-to-day experiences.
To live accordingly, to let God’s good in the form of health, harmony, wisdom, and power express through your life, is to bear witness to the truth. These qualities must be in your house, however. They must be in your thoughts and feelings in order to have them express outwardly. If you are not bearing witness to God and His good in your life, you will undoubtedly bear witness to some form of lack and limitation.
You can bear witness to the truth by filling your mind with ideas of truth, meditating on them until they become a part of your being. Thus, will your own life be changed for the better and you will also influence the lives of those people around you.
What are you taking into your home? What are you taking into your place of employment? What are you taking into the experience of your friends and acquaintances? What you have in the household of your mind is what you will give to all those you meet, and it is also what you will receive. It is impossible for you to take, give, or share anything other than what you actually take with you in your mind.
Why not spend some time preparing your house so you will take peace, love, a sense of order and harmony, prosperity, success, good judgment, and integrity with you? As you go about your work, your daily living, and your social activities, ask yourself, “What am I bringing to this place? What am I adding to this group?” All our words of good intention are as nothing, for we only add to anyone, to any group, or to any situation that which is a part of us, that which we have in our mental dwelling place. Even when we are working to take good ideas into our mind’s house, we sometimes find that something negative will come up. In no way should we condemn ourselves, but instead look to see what we have invited into our home that could have enabled this to take place. If you cannot find anything that could be the reason for a negative experience like this, then forget it. Don’t give it more power than it already has by thinking about it. Instead, realize that this negative experience is the result of some old, leftover belief that has not been completely cleansed from your mind. As in our homes, we sometimes find dirt hiding in unexpected places. So, in the house of our mind do we find certain old beliefs that have not yet been cleansed thoroughly. As you continue to bring into your house, your consciousness, that which is wholesome and good, the old will be cleaned out.
If some undesirable experience comes into your life, instead of feeling guilty, know that it has surfaced to be handled, then released from your life. Give it no nourishment from your thoughts and feelings, and it will soon pass out of your life. Just know that the negative experience has come to pass—to pass right out of your life for good.
No matter what your experiences and no matter what you may have left in your house that must be cleansed, remember you also have within you the Spirit of God, Christ in you, that gives you the power to do all things. You can move from a condition of lack to one of abundance. You can move from being a sickly, unhealthy individual to one filled with vitality, energy, and strength with a healthy, wholesome body. You can change from being an ineffective, weak person to one of great strength, effectiveness, and power. Hostile and unkind attitudes toward others can be replaced with love and understanding. But how do you develop faith, so a small portion can accomplish what you want? It is easy to recognize that the widow used her faith. How do you develop faith enough to be able to use it rightly?
Stop telling yourself you don’t have enough faith. Quit putting yourself down as undeserving, not worthy, or whatever negative things you are saying about yourself. Know the potential for success in whatever aspect is already within you. The faith is already there. You have to use it. Don’t compare yourself unfavorably with others. If someone else has already accomplished something you want to do, then know that if they can do it, you can, too, and more! Declare your faith in God. Start by saying to yourself that you have faith and are using the faith you have. In the midst of problems, affirm you are able to solve the problems. When appearances are negative and bothersome, declare boldly, “I believe in God’s ability to establish good in my life.” Or, “I have faith that God answers my prayers for harmony, love, healing, and prosperity.”
Concentrate your thinking on success. Your mind is creative. Your mental attitudes and beliefs will determine the results. If you believe you can succeed, then you can. Conversely, if you think you can’t, then you won’t. Become familiar with the techniques of successful people in reference to various aspects of life. Whatever you want to do, find out how those who have already done it did it. Then decide that you can do it, too, and begin. Awareness of the spiritual laws of God makes us more conscious of the importance of keeping our thinking on what we desire. The spiritual law of supply and demand, “What you are seeking is seeking you,” removes any barriers created by wrong thoughts. Have faith that this is so, and it is. Associate with people who have a strong faith in God. Those who have faith in God do not squelch others with ideas that cause them to quit before they have even begun. They are not gloom-mongers who take fiendish delight in undermining another’s confidence. Look around you at your circle of friends and associates. If you find these characteristics in them, it may mean you are going to have to give up association with them to fulfill your divine potential. Have faith that God will guide you to see those who are being detrimental to your growth and show you ways to move them from your circle. People who have faith in God will have a positive effect on you. When you are around them, you will feel your confidence grow. They will say and do things that make you feel needed, important, capable, and eager to move ahead. Those who carry an aura of joy and happiness do so with a faith in God.
Keep your faith active. However small it is, it must remain active. It is somewhat like a bicycle. The bicycle can stand upright when it is in motion. Keep your faith in motion. Faith and works go together. Apply it to what you are doing, what you are needing, what you are desiring. Just as a seed is small when planted, it produces much when it is cultivated and allowed to produce what it should. The mental seed of faith stirs up the activity of creativity and brings forth much. It changes negative attitudes to positive attitudes. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Read faith-filled, inspired writings or listen to recordings that will keep your mind centered on the development of your faith daily. There are many wonderful books, magazines, and articles. The Bible is filled with stories of how faith works. Read these stories and use the ideas you get from them in your own life. As you continue to center your thinking on faith-filled, inspired writings, you will begin to feel your faith increasing, not only in God but also in yourself and the right outcome of all you set out to accomplish.
Give thanks that God’s faith is now active in you. Giving thanks for God’s faith in you takes things out of human effort alone and tunes you into your inner seed of greatness. Giving thanks will help your seed develop roots in the soil of spirit. Mountains of doubt and fear will be removed. Needed changes will take place quickly and easily. Right things will happen in your world. Thank God the faith in you is now accomplishing all that is needed to make you the true person you are and are meant to be. “According to your faith be it unto you,” Jesus said. (Matthew 9:29) Make faith an essential part of your house. With it, all other areas of your life can be completed.
Build the ideas you want to express into your life. What do you have in your house? Look at your life and this will tell you. If you don’t like what you see, change it. Use the little oil of faith in God you already have as a beginning, and all else will follow.