July 19, 2021
2 Kings 4:42-44 (NRSV)
42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.” 43 But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’” 44 He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.
The man walked into the “Donations” entrance of a local food shelf and placed his gift on the counter. A volunteer behind the counter looked at the man, looked at the donation, and looked back to the man. “Um, it’s a can opener,” said the volunteer. The donor replied, “Several years ago when I was down on my luck, I visited this place, and you were very generous. When I arrived home, starving, I took out the contents of the bags you gave me: eleven cans of tuna, soup, green beans and sliced potatoes. But I had no can opener, so I walked to the gas station and bought a hot dog.”
The unnamed man from Baal-shalishah also gave a gift that almost went uneaten. Elisha’s servant saw only limitations, but Elisha perceived God’s possibilities. The food was set out, the people ate, and God was glorified. So too, this sequence happens with every gift given in faith to a God who multiplies. How will God expand the gifts you give today?
Forgive us, Lord, when we see only scarcity where your word of promise creates abundance. Amen.
God Pause, Luther Seminary, July 19, 2021