Sunday, March 8, 2009

International Women's Day Synchroblog

The Bible is filled with stories of single mothers. There's one in particular that I want to highlight. from 2nd Kings 4:1-7
This single mother was a widow and was experiencing desperate financial need that put her children in danger. Like many single mothers in her situation, she went to a godly safe person and asked for help. The safe person she asked for help took the time to ask her about her situation and see how he could help. Once he found out what her resources were, he shared a plan on how God could multiply her resources and you guessed it he used other safe people to do it. Here's how the miracle went down:
The widow (how I wish we knew her name!) and her sons went throughout her community asking to borrow jars and bowls. They borrowed all they could. Then the mama and her boys went home, closed the door for privacy, and started pouring. See, all they had was a little bottle of oil, probably olive oil, and they took their little bottle and started pouring. Used in faith, that little bottle kept on pouring, kept on pouring, kept on pouring until it filled up all the other empty jars. This single mama sold all the oil and used the proceeds to pay off her debt, keep her sons out of danger and had plenty left over to live on. Good outcome!

What moves me about this story is the perfect blend of vertical and horizontal. In a vertical way, it was all about the single mother and God. Only God could make a small oil jar keep pouring like that. But the horizontal was equally important, the single mama and her community. Her safe friends who helped her. Without the jars from her safe friends, what would she have had to receive all that God was doing in her life?

There are many people in need in our world today. I'd like to ask you to pay close attention to the single mothers in your world. Be a safe person. Take the time to ask and listen and get to know what the needs are in their life. And be willing to be part of the miracle in their life. What is God doing in their life? How can you help them to receive that? collect it? capture it? contain it?
Be the empty arms that God can fill when you hug her. When God pours out good and blessing in her life, help her to receive it. Don't deny yourself the joy of being one of the jars of miracles in the life of a single mother.

Here's the whole story, from The Message:
4:1 One day the wife of a man from the guild of prophets called out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead. You well know what a good man he was, devoted to God. And now the man to whom he was in debt is on his way to collect by taking my two children as slaves."

4:2 Elisha said, "I wonder how I can be of help. Tell me, what do you have in your house?" "Nothing," she said. "Well, I do have a little oil."

4:3 "Here's what you do," said Elisha. "Go up and down the street and borrow jugs and bowls from all your neighbors. And not just a few - all you can get.

4:4 Then come home and lock the door behind you, you and your sons. Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside."

4:5 She did what he said. She locked the door behind her and her sons; as they brought the containers to her, she filled them.

4:6 When all the jugs and bowls were full, she said to one of her sons, "Another jug, please." He said, "That's it. There are no more jugs." Then the oil stopped.

4:7 She went and told the story to the man of God. He said, "Go sell the oil and make good on your debts. Live, both you and your sons, on what's left."
Here's the Synch in Synchroblog: all the other dear ones who also blogged on this topic today
Julie Clawson on the God who sees
Steve Hayes on St. Theodora the Iconodule
Sonja Andrews on Aunt Jemima
Sensuous Wife on a single mom in the Bible
Minnowspeaks on celebrating women
Michelle Van Loon on the persistant widow
Lyn Hallewell on women who walked with God
Heather on the strength of biblical women
Shawna Atteberry on the Daughter of Mary Magdalene
Christine Sine on women who impacted her life
Susan Barnes on Tamar, Ruth, and Mary
Kathy Escobar on standing up for nameless and voiceless women
Ellen Haroutunian on out from under the veil
Liz Dyer on Mary and Martha
Bethany Stedman on Shiphrah and Puah
Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene
Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba
Eugene Cho on Lydia
Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible
Miz Melly preached on the woman at the well
AJ Schwanz on women’s work
Pam Hogeweide on teenage girls changing the world
Teresa on the women Paul didn’t hate
Helen on Esther
Happy on Abigail
Mark Baker-Wright on telling stories
Robin M. on Eve
Alan Knox is thankful for the women who served God
Lainie Petersen on the unnamed concubine
Mike Clawson on cultural norms in the early church
Krista on serving God
Bob Carlton on Barbie as Icon
Jan Edmiston preached on the unnamed concubine
Deb on her namesake - Deborah
Makeesha on empowering women
Kate on Esther
Doreen Mannion on Deborah
Patrick Oden on Rahab
Scot McKnight on Junia
Jonathan Stegall on Eve
InHo Kim on Sarah
Mimi Haddad on deception


Ellen Haroutunian said...

I love this theme in scripture - not only care for widows (whom that culture often ignored) but God who multiplies what we have. It's a good thought for life in this uncertain economy.

Who am I said...

I had never thought of this before but this is similar to Jesus turning water to wine, or even more similar to the multiplying loaves and fishes.

Alan Knox said...

I think I've learned about trust more from several single moms than from many theologians and books.


Liz said...

I was a single mom for several years and I often felt alone and afraid - but those moments when others reached out to me - helping me, loving me, showing me they were thinking of me and concerned for me were like God himself was showing up. Even the smallest gestures are still stored in my mind and heart. I remember one Friday afternoon a woman from my church knocked on my door and had a single carnation in her hand - she handed it to me and said she just wanted to let me know her and God were thinking about me and loving me. It still brings tears to my eyes. Since then I try to watch out for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of single moms.

Shawna Renee said...

This is one of my favorite stories because it takes both God and the community. God normally works thru the community, which means we have to be there for one another.

Lainie Petersen said...

In scripture the single mother is used as the standard by which we ought to discern our charity. Thank you for this reminder! Love you! xx

kathyescobar said...

thanks for this. i am glad that you focused on single moms for this synchroblog. so many wise and courageous and strong and beautiful women doing what they can to provide for their families amidst so many obstacles.