Empty Jars and the Flower Underfoot

It was so small, I nearly missed it.

A white aster, less than an inch across,  struggled to survive in the parched, crunchy lawn.  If not for the habit of watching where I placed each footstep, scanning for bees , I wouldn’t have seen it.


Normally, this wildflower would be over two feet tall, full of daisy-like blooms and alive with butterflies.


Not this plant–it was drought-stricken, stepped on, mowed off.

A corn root worm beetle crawled across the face of the single blossom.

Isn’t that how life is for us some days?

We struggle.  We feel small, alone, inadequate,

convinced we have nothing to offer.

In the story of Elisha it was so small, I nearly missed it.

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 small jar of olive 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 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.”

2 Kings 4:1-7 NIV

The neighbors.  I’d never considered their part in the miracle before.  Elisha asked the widow to go to all her neighbors for empty jars.

What if the neighbors had said “No”?  But they didn’t.  Instead, they were able to participate in the “big” miracle that we’re still reading about and amazed by today.  The neighbors’ jars may seem insignificant, but the miracle that day depended on them saying “Yes.”

We can say “Yes” to God, even when we feel we have nothing to contribute, when we feel small.

Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love.  (Mother Theresa)

It was so small, I nearly missed it.

The still, small voice that says we are enough, that we are adequate, that we have something to offer.

Our jars are not empty after all.  Given in faith, given with love, they’re big enough to hold a miracle.


Jennifer Dukes Lee Tell His Story

Posted on October 15, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This story of the widow and the miracle of the jars of oil is one of my favorites. The last sermon I heard about it was from the widow’s perspective. It is nice to look at it from the neighbors part in the miracle also. Without their participation it would never have happened. Just their extra jars, and that was all that was needed for the story to play out.

  2. “We can say “Yes” to God, even when we feel we have nothing to contribute, when we feel small.” Yes. Often I feel like I have nothing to offer, that I’m too “small”this story is a great example of how God uses our small and makes it BIG. Love this story, thanks for sharing it this way, it was really neat to read.

  3. Yes, I adequate but your blogs are more than adequate…thanks for the offering…keith briggs

  4. Constance,
    I have not been to your blog before, but I know I will be back; I have really enjoyed reading several posts this evening, and you are a blessing and an encouragement. I do hope you will link-up your wonderful writings (and truth from the Word) on ‘Encourage One Another’s Wednesday at DRAH. I needed to hear this once again tonight!

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