At the End of Our Own Private Resources

At the End of Our Own Private Resources

March 12, 2013
Written by Daniel Hazard

2 Kings 4:2

"Elisha said to her, 'What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?' She answered, 'Your servant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.'"

Anthony B. Robinson

A friend says, "When you're at the end of your rope, let go. There's a reason you're there." She is not saying give up. I think she is saying stop trying to do it all by yourself.

In today's Scripture, the prophet Elisha meets a widow who is at the end of her rope. Her resources have run out. Creditors are about to take her two children and make them slaves. She has nothing, nothing except a jar of oil.

Elisha tells her to gather vessels for oil and to start pouring. By the time she stopped pouring, there is enough oil to pay all the creditors and plenty more to live on.

I sure can't explain this. But it did make me think of a few lines from Richard Rohr's book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.

"Sooner or later . . . some event, person, death, idea or relationship will enter your life that you simply cannot deal with, using your present skill set, your acquired knowledge, or your strong willpower. Spiritually speaking, you will be, you must be, led to the edge of your own private resources."

It happens. We get to end of our rope. The end of our own private resources. What then?

Let go and put all your trust in God who is able, says Paul, "to accomplish abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine." 


When our own resources run out, grant us grace to turn to you, to trust in you and heed your word. Amen.

About the Author
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of the just-published Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at by clicking on Weekly Reading.
New! God is still speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, a full year of your favorite way to start the day, available as a book. Coming in June - click here to pre-order now.

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