The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves." Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?"
"Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil." Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side." She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one." But he replied, "There is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left."(2Kings 4)
A widowed lady was in financial trouble. Maybe the family had a mountain of medical bills from her husband’s illness; maybe the credit card debt has multiplied from living expenses during the last days of his disease. Perhaps the sons have student loans from trying to complete their education in a manner that would please their father. The world would seem to be closing in on them.
Enter Elisha, a prophet of God, who previously caused the blindness of an entire enemy army, made iron float and provided food to a nation in the midst of a cannibalistic famine. This man possibly could have solved this lady’s problems with the snap of a finger. Certainly he could have dealt severely with the men who threatened to enslave her sons. However, God did not solve this problem in the obvious way; instead He provided a miraculous plan.
Elisha gave the lady simple instructions: borrow as many containers as available and pour oil into them. She complied, and when the vessels were full the oil ended. The final instructions were to sell the oil, pay their debts, and live on the remainder.
If you are in debt you have wished that a miracle would save you. Miracles do still happen. Yet, the wisdom to solve our problems is available, if we would only use it.
The instructions from the story are very clear, repay your debts. If God wanted to excuse us from repaying our debts, He would have instructed Elisha to excuse this lady from her debts.
Learning from the instructions Elisha gave, we will need a plan to repay our debts. The lady in our story had a simple plan, as most of the best are. Our plan should be as detailed as needed, yet simple and attainable.
Finally, take action. The lady and her sons had to do something. Money didn’t just fall into her lap and it won’t fall into yours.
Try this simple debt repayment plan. List all of your debts in order from least to greatest. Commit to paying the minimum payments on all debt. Take all extra money committed to repaying debt and pay towards the first debt on the list. Once the first debt on the list is fully repaid, refocus all money from the first debt towards the second debt on the list. Repeat this process until all of your debt is fully repaid.
A few helpful hints: If you are receiving calls from creditors, politely explain to them that you have a plan that their company will be repaid, to please stop calling immediately, and ask your creditors to lower their monthly minimums. Don’t redirect money from retirement plans, especially when a company is matching an amount invested.
These are simple steps, but they work if you work just as the lady from our story. Throughout the Bible we are advised to stay out of debt. If we owe financial debts we should repay them. God believes in paying debts. Look how he paid our sin debt through Jesus.
August 9, 2007
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Posted on Thu, August 9, 2007
by Chris McAlpin