“Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what’s left.”
— 2 Kings 4:7
The widow’s dilemma can be as real today as it was in Elisha’s time. She faced poverty and exploitation, hopelessness and despair. Notice that Elisha responded to this crisis by engaging her in finding a sustainable income to support herself and her sons.
Yesterday we affirmed the importance of meeting immediate needs. But we also know that bigger problems often call for more sustainable solutions.
Elisha’s response to the widow respects her abilities, invites her participation, engages her neighbors, and transforms her “nothing but a little oil” into a cottage industry to support her family.
While bandages have their uses, new skills, knowledge, and opportunities are needed to help people find new beginnings and pathways out of poverty.
I thank God for the many organizations and people who are “teaching people to fish” by teaching sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and health care, literacy and numeracy skills, leadership and human rights—and who do all that as an expression of God’s love and his desire for abundant life for all people.
Have you considered supporting such important work?
Dear God, the suffering of the poor who bear your image is an affront to you. You long for their renewal and flourishing. Use me as you will to help change the story in their lives. In Christ, Amen.