When the Creditor is Coming
By Sharon Norris Elliott
2 Kings 4:1-7 relates a story that is very timely for many of us in the current economic downturn. A single mom finds herself in credit trouble. She articulates her problem to Elisha the prophet who asks her what she has. All she has is some oil in a jar. Elisha tells her, “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… (When she returned to Elisha with the task completed, he told her) Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest” 2 Kings 4:3-4 and 7 (NKJ).
If you find yourself in a similar situation today – in bondage to credit – take the six steps this woman took to become free:
• Step 1: Express your need to God – Now is not the time to stop going to church, to stop praying, and to stop serving God. This woman expressed her need to the man of God. She didn’t turn to ungodly sources or get-rich-quick schemes. She needed help; she turned to God. You need help; turn to God.
• Step 2: Examine your assets – This woman had a little oil – something that everyone needed. What do you have that everyone needs? Maybe it’s not something physical like oil; perhaps you have strengths, talents, and skills. For example, I can write, teach the Bible, and multi-task.
• Step 3: Employ the family – This woman had two sons who she rallied to her aid. They helped to collect the empty pots from the neighbors. Get others involved with you gathering all you’ll need to position yourself to exit your credit problem. Put their strengths and skills to work for you.
• Step 4: Evaluate the emptiness of others – How can your assets fulfill the needs around you? This woman and her sons found people who had empty vessels, people who needed oil. Look around: who needs what you have, even if you have just a little of it? I could, for example, appraise who might need to learn to write, understand the Bible, or be better at organizational skills?
• Step 5: Exercise the entrepreneurial spirit – Go into business using your assets to fill others’ needs. This woman poured her oil into the empty pots until there were no more empty vessels. Her oil didn’t run out until the empty pots ran out. And her oil was worth money. Your assets, gifts, and talents are not to be cheaply prostituted. Set a fair price and don’t apologize. People will pay for what they want and need. As long as the need exists, you’ll be in business.
• Step 6: Exist on the increase – This woman sold her oil and she and her sons lived on the rest. She had not only enough to get out of debt, but she also had enough to sustain her family going forward. Her assets profited enough for investment for the future. Wisely handle the increase from now on to keep the creditor from coming back again.
What a wonderful plan to undertake when the creditor is coming. Try it.
©2011 Sharon Norris Elliott, used with permission.
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