Empty

By Jeff Padgett, Ph.D.
2 Kings 4:1-7, One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the LORD. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”

A person who tells crazy, unbelievable stories is said to be “full of baloney.” A person who walks around bragging to everyone about his or her importance is said to be “full of hot air.” As a child of the King, what are you full of today?

God wants to fill you with everything you need to live a victorious life. Before God can fill you with Himself, you must be completely empty of yourself. Believe it or not, emptiness can be more valuable to God than fullness.

One morning, my eighth-grade science teacher, Ms. Turner set a large jar on the counter in the science lab to demonstrate the principle of displacement. She took large rocks and put them into the jar. She then asked the class how many of us thought that the jar was full. We all raised our hands. She then began to pour gravel into the jar and it ran down in between the rocks. Again, she asked how many of us thought the jar was full. Less hands went up, but still the majority of the class. She then proceeds to pour in sand, which further fills in the cracks. The same question is posed a third time. At this point, only about 25% of the class have their hands raised. Finally, she takes a large glass of water and pours it into the jar until it overflows and again asks the question a fourth time. She then tells us it’s full. Just when we think the experiment is over, she pulls out another large jar, identical to the one used from before. This time, she pours the water in first until it reaches the rim of the jar. She drops in a single piece of gravel and the jar overflows. I learned a valuable principle that day: If you put the wrong thing in first, you won’t have room for anything else.

It’s so important to empty yourself of the illusion that you’ve “got it all together with God.” There’s a big difference between sitting in church and getting filled up with what others are saying about God and having an honest-to-goodness encounter with Him for yourself.

After her husband died, this widow went to the prophet Elisha and begged for help. Not only was the bill collector knocking at the door—he was threatening to take her two sons away to make them his slaves. All this woman had was a few drops of oil. Elisha told her to go and gather as many empty jars as she could, and then to fill them one by one with her oil. Jar after jar was filled with oil and when the empty jars were gone, so was the oil.

What’s the lesson here? Only God can fill us according to our emptiness. The volume of your emptiness determines the amount of your filling. Your hunger is the only limiting factor. Stop filling yourself with spiritual junk food and “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8

This woman had no idea that the total accumulated amount of empty vessels controlled the amount of oil that would flow into her future. Heaven didn’t run out of oil, earth just ran out of emptiness!

Years ago, when we ran out of sugar or flour, we’d go down the street and borrow some from a neighbor. This woman did the opposite: She borrowed empty vessels from the neighbors and actually put them on display. She advertised her emptiness! In order for God to be able to fill us, our churches, and our cities with Himself, we must create emptiness.

The thing God runs to is the very thing we run from. The Lord is near those who are empty and we do everything we can to avoid being empty.

Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Staff Spotlight

For this month’s #StaffSpotlight, we shine a light on Paul Anderson Youth Home’s Dustin Young, one of our amazing Mentors at PAYH. His duties consist of teaching, advising, helping, and providing discipline to guide the young men spiritually, emotionally, mentally, socially, and physically. This includes helping them with scripture, guiding them morally, listening to them, teaching them good work habits and skills, and coaching them in the gym and during sports. He is also a member of the campus safety team. He lives with his family on campus, so he’s able to spend additional time with the young men by covering extra shifts when needed. He is a huge asset to PAYH, as he helps in performing various HVAC and electrical repairs, as needed. PAYH is so thankful for you, Dustin!

#payh #boyshome #vidalia #youthhome #family #boyslife #youngmen #jdawgmedia

CFA Vidalia Early Bird Registration

Our annual CFA Run Benefit for PAYH, WinShape Camps and Vidalia Heritage Academy is coming up on March 5th. We encourage you to get healthy and contribute to a worthy cause for the community! Go to runvidalia.com to register. #runvidalia

Congratulations Anthony!

We are so proud of PAYH’s latest graduate, Anthony Mooney. Anthony has proven himself to be a leader in the time he has been at PAYH. His plan is to work in the printing industry. You can view his recap video here.

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