” A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.” So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors–empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.” So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased.” 2 Kings 4:1-6 (NKJV)
In this day men could sign up to go to the school of prophets. It seems that this widow had been the wife of one of the men in the school. But now her husband had died and this pretty well left her destitute. With no way to raise money to pay the bills she caught between a rock and a hard place when the bills came due.
It was a common practice in this culture for those who couldn’t pay their debts to be sent to debtor’s prison. Her husband had died and when the debts came due the creditors were going to take her two sons and make them into debt slaves. She was convinced that as God’s main prophet Elisha could help her.
Elisha told her what to do to fix her problem. She did exactly what Elisha told her to do. She collected many containers, went into a room, shut the door and began to fill them up. As she poured God multiplied the oil and her flask kept filling up container after container. When she unknowingly filled up the last container she called for another one. Her sons told her there were no more containers. At that point the oil stopped flowing. There was no limit to the oil. If there had been more containers there would have been more oil. The only limit was containers to hold the oil. God’s resources and power were not even close to being tapped out. God could just as easily filled 500 more containers of oil if she would have had the capacity to hold it.
Our capacity is the only limit to what Jesus can do in us, through us, and for us. When we say, “I can’t. I’m maxed out. I’ve reached my limit” we are limiting what Jesus will do in us, through us and for us. Jesus has infinite power and infinite resources and can give infinite blessings. But what He will do in us, through us and for us will be limited by our capacity. Anytime I say, “I can’t. I’m maxed out. I’ve reached my limit ” what I’m saying is, “I’m full. There isn’t any more.” When I do that, the oil stops flowing.
Jesus can stretch us so that our capacity increases and we are able to “hold” all that He wants to do in us, through us, and for us. But, we have to be willing to be stretched. Unfortunately what often happens is that we feel maxed out, and so we quit. That limits what Jesus will do in us, through us and for us. Rather than quitting when we feel maxed out we have to surrender to Jesus, let Him stretch us and increase our capacity.