With thanksgiving just two days away everyone is focusing in on things that we should be thankful for and I certainly am in agreement with that thought but this evening I would like to bring to you something from a different perspective because I believe that to truly be thankful you first have to empty out so you can be filled in order to truly give thanks.
II Ki 4:1-7
Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.
Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.
And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.
And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
If you can grasp what I am going to say to you tonight I believe it will impact your life forever.
The key to value and worth in your life is for you to know who you are in the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we understand and comprehend that, there is nothing left to do but to stand in awe and wonder as to the greatness of an Almighty God.
There is nothing left to do but to give thanks and praise unto the one that is worthy to be praised,
There is nothing left to do but to fall before Him in complete adoration to the greatness of His mercy and grace to the revelation of knowing who and what we are through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Elijah asked the woman,
What do you have in your house?
What do you have that can glorify God?
I wonder if we really understand how accurate this woman really was when she said thy handmaid hath nothing in the house.
She was so accurate and yet did not know how accurate that she really was.
Her answer has a reflection on all of us if we have revelation and that revelation is that we are all empty vessels that need to be filled.
There is none of us that has anything to offer to God, there is no value within any of us except the power of God that has taken resident within us that needs to flow out of us.
The only value that we have relates back to the God that lives within us
Let’s be honest
What do we have to offer God?
What do we really have to offer God that is significant in value?
I believe the answer will come nothing every single time if we are honest.
God is not needy and neither is He desperate
I have heard a multitude of preachers telling thousands that God needs us,
He does not need us, He loves us but he does not need us.
He can do his own work without us, He does not need us to love some one, He does not need us to lay hands on some one, He does not need us to lead some one and He does not need us to bring some one to Him,
He can do his own work in fact the book of Genesis tells the story as to how capable He is of doing his own work.
I do not say that to tear you down or to make you feel bad, I say it for you to grasp something important,
If we as children of God do not get rid of our haughtiness and our high mindedness, God is never going to be able to use us to the capacity that He desires to use us.
So some one is going to say do we have value, and the answer is yes but only the value that God has assigned to us because of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Christ we are and have everything,
In the flesh we are and have nothing,
That which is born of the flesh is flesh and it profits us nothing and that which is born of the spirit is spirit and it profits us everything.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Within us is a burning desire to help people, within us is a desire to reach out and touch people but that can only really take place after you have emptied yourself, it is only after you have purged yourself of yourself that you are able to lean on and totally depend on the Holy Spirit,
It is only then that you begin to realize that what you have is only because of Him, what you are is only because of Him, what you will ever be will be only because of Him, if you are to touch lives it will only be because of Him.
And when you become empty then you can go around to your neighbors, then you can go around to your friends, then you can go around to your family as a vessel that has been emptied of self and bring to them that which will bring them life.
Arriving at the place where we are empty of ourselves is never an easy task,
It is never quick and it is never easy .it involves a deep work that must be done in us and by us so that our flesh is crucified for our flesh is deeply imbedded within us.
Listen to Paul,
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
You may be at the place where you wonder if you will ever reach that place of manifesting humility instead of pride, you may wonder if you will ever reach that place of dependence instead of that place of being independent, of trusting instead of doing your own thing, of loving with pure motives instead of motives that manipulate.
Will you ever reach that place, yes if you do not give up?
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
If you will remain sincere, if you will remain honest, if you will press through, you will eventually become like the woman who became empty so that she could be used by God to fill other empty people,
Grasp this, to experience and to know what God can do, we have to understand and acknowledge what we are not able to do. We have to get our eyes off of our selves and our limited ability and get our eyes on Him and His unlimited and infinite power.
2 Chr 20:1
It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,
And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
Three important statements and principles made in these verses that apply to us today as much as it did to the people of that day.
#1 We have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us.
#2 We do not know what to do
#3 But our eyes are on you
When we reach the place of being able to make these three statements to the Lord in total honesty and complete dependence upon Him, then He will be able to move in total freedom for us as He did for the people in that story.
Why is God not moving in our lives as He moved in the lives of those who did not have what we have in Him?
Could it be that maybe it is because we are so full of ourselves?
Why is God not taking control of our situations?
Could it be that maybe it is because we will not let go.
That is part of what it means when the word of God tells us that the battle is not ours but the Lords.
2 Chr 20:15
And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
So as we ponder this Thanksgiving how many ways that we are thankful, maybe the greatest expression of thankfulness that we will be able to exhibit to God and to those around us will be to empty out so that we can be filled.