There is some risk to all your jars being full. I discovered this anew in this biblical story in the second book of Kings. It is as much about life as it is leadership, though the principal applies to both.
A widow came to the prophet Elisha crying out, “My husband is dead and a creditor is threatening to take my two sons as slave.” Her only thing of value was a single flask of olive oil, so she had nothing to offer the creditor. The solution offered by Elisha was for her to gather as many empty jars as she could (borrowing from neighbors), go into her house and pour the olive oil from the flask into one of the jars. Miraculously, she was able to completely fill the first jar with oil still remaining in the flask (if you are familiar with the miracles of Jesus, think five loaves and two fishes feeding five thousand people). She filled a second jar, then a third, and so on until there were no jars left. When she ran out of jars to fill, the olive oil stopped flowing. (She satisfied her creditor by selling some of the oil.) 2 Kings 4:1-7 paraphrased
There a lot of lessons in this story (spiritual and otherwise), but the one that has hit me freshly is when all the jars were full, “the olive oil stopped flowing.”
One of my fears in life is that I will run out of jars to fill and the oil will stop flowing. This can happen anywhere: home, business, church, and so on. There is a danger in having no jars to fill. Complacency, self-satisfaction, atrophy or pride (“my jars are all full”) can all set in. Once the oil stops flowing, it can be hard to restart it.
My desire is that I will always have an empty jar—something I can pour into—a reason to get up in the morning and take on the day to make a difference in my life or someone else’s. If I don’t have an empty jar, I want to find one before the oil stops. How about you? Have a jar to fill today? If you look around, I’ll bet you do.
Bring me another jar!
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© Copyright 2015 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner