June 23, 2020
When You Feel Empty
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“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 (NIV)
I don’t know about you, but the quarantine has left me feeling sort of empty, and I’ve had a difficult time filling back up.
We’re not alone, though — the Bible, holds a story of a woman who felt the same way.
Thankfully, she didn’t stay that way. The same God we know today filled her up so she could pour out again. Her story is found in 1 Kings 17, and begins with a man named Elijah.
Elijah was a prophet who gave some bad news to a king named Ahab: “… As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1, NIV). After delivering the prophecy, Elijah fled to the Kerith Ravine east of the Jordan, where he drank from the brook and ate bread and meat God provided.
Eventually, the brook dried up. So, God sent Elijah to Zarephath, to a Gentile widow who would provide for him. When he got there, he didn’t find a woman with plenty, but a woman in need.
“Excuse me,” Elijah called, “could you please bring me a cup of water?”
As she turned to fetch the traveler a cup to quench his thirst, he continued. “Oh, and can you bring me a piece of bread?”
“… I don’t have any bread — only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug,” she said. “I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it — and die” (1 Kings 17:12, NIV).
Now that was a discouraged, empty woman! But Elijah had good news for her:
“Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the land’” (vv. 13-14).
She went home and did as Elijah asked.
Can’t you just see this woman taking the last bit of flour and oil to make Elijah a meal? What does it matter? I’m going to die anyway. So what if it’s one day earlier?
She emptied her flour bowl and oil jar, took a little cake to Elijah, and returned home. As she went to wash the dirty dishes, she picked up the jar and the jug, and to her surprise, the “flour was not used up” and the “oil did not run dry” (1 Kings 17:16)!
I call this the Bucket Principle.
I believe each of us is given a bucket of encouragement. As we dip out of our bucket and pour onto others, God miraculously fills it back up.
Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).
Many times, we place a lid on our bucket of encouragement by withholding life-giving words. I don’t have enough to give to someone else, we moan. I am drained dry. However, when we give, even in our emotional emptiness, the same God who miraculously filled up the widow’s flour and oil jars fills us back up.
If you feel empty today, think of one small way you can pour into someone else’s emotional, spiritual or physical bucket. Then watch God fill you back up.
Dear Lord, I’m feeling very empty today. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, show me someone I can encourage and how I can encourage them — whether emotionally, spiritually or physically. Give me the words to say and the courage to say them. I pray that as I give encouragement to others, You will fill me back up. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Luke 6:38, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full — pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (NLT)
Did you know that the words you speak echo in others’ hearts and minds, long after they are spoken? That your words become the mirror for others to see themselves? To become a woman who speaks life to those around you, see Sharon Jaynes’ book, The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others.
Sign up on Sharon’s website for her FREE 5-day Taming the Tongue Challenge!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Besides the joy of finding more flour and oil in her jar, how do you think the miracle affected the widow in Zarephath? How might it have affected her view of God?
What are three ways you can pour into or encourage someone today? Leave your ideas in the comments, and let’s learn from each other.
© 2020 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.