Give God Your Nothing


One day in 1961 an American student – newly arrived in England to begin his postgraduate work – visited the well-known poet and critic T. S. Eliot. As the young man was leaving, Eliot sought to impart some sympathetic wisdom.

“Forty years ago I went from Harvard to Oxford,” he mused. “Now, what advice can I give you?”

The student eagerly waited for the Nobel Prize winner’s wisdom. It finally came in the form of a question – “Have you any long underwear?”

The Bible tells the story of a widow who cried to the prophet Elisha for help. She was desolate. The prophet’s response seemed as absurd as Eliot’s words to the young student. The widow expressed her fear that without her husband to provide for the family, she could lose her sons to slavery. Elisha’s great wisdom came in the form of a seemingly odd question – “What do you have in your house?” (2 Kings 4:2).

The widow answered, “A little oil.” That was it. A little oil. The rest of the story tells us that God used what little she had and multiplied it. That’s what God does.

The great British preacher, F. B. Meyer, said, “We must get to an end of ourselves before He can begin in us.” The widow learned that lesson well. Have you?


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