She was a desperate woman—a widow and a mother—hopelessly in debt. (Read her story in 2 Kings 4:1-7.)  The Enemy had subtracted almost everything of value from her life. He had “minused” away her husband, her resources, and her ability to sustain herself until all that she, and her two sons, had left was a pile of unpaid bills and the last bit of oil in a jar.

Just then, the man of God, Elisha, came along and asked her not to inventory what she had lost but what she had left.

“What do you have in the house?”

“Just the last of my oil ….”

Then, the woman—who already owed debts she could not pay—was told to go and borrow! To borrow vessels, empty vessels, and not just a few! Where would she get those vessels? From her neighbors, who no doubt knew the dire predicament she was in and may have doubted her ability to return them. But, God—who isn’t in the “minusing” business, but in the multiplication business—helped her to gain unexpected resources from out of nowhere! The last of what she had became the first of her abundance—and what remained became more than enough! For what purpose? to sustain herself and her sons, fulfill needs, and be a blessing to the others around her—to those whose vessels she “borrowed.” She was able to meet their needs with her miracle!  She poured and filled every vessel brought to her until she looked for yet another but was told, “There isn’t another!” and only then did the oil stop flowing. Just enough.

Could we be the unlikely resource through whom others around us will find the oil God freely provides—of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost? Are there empty hearts around us—within reach—that we can prayerfully place under the miraculous Spirit stream we have found? Should we be looking, in prayer, for yet “another vessel” where the still-flowing Holy Ghost oil could be poured? Or could the supply possibly stop flowing through us before all the available vessels are filled? God forbid.

Dear Jesus,

  • Fill my cup, Lord—many times over, and multiply the healing influence of the Holy Ghost in my life and family.
  • Show me other “empty vessels”—souls in need within my reach that I can “borrow” in prayer to be filled from Your endless supply. In Your hands, LORD, my emptiness becomes Your everything.
  • Identify the “empty vessels” I am carrying in my heart daily—voids of hurt, bitterness, or chronic doubt. Help me to allow You to fill those spaces with thankfulness, trust, and Your abiding joy.
  • Show me the hours of my day spent in less-worthy time pursuits—selfish indulgences that profit little to nothing—that can be filled with more of You through prayer and Your Word.
  • Do not allow me to leave any potential vessels unfilled, for “as long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim, the oil shall not be stayed.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

We will never run out of need; our capacity for need is endless. But God never runs out of resources; His capability for provision is infinite. God will never need what you have lost—but He will use what you have left. There is no limit to the good that God can potentially do in us and through us, as we “borrow” every empty “vessel” we can find—and not a few!—and bring them to the Lord in prayer. From nothing, God can—and will—“open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings” through our hands, “that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 KJV)

“His love has no limit, 

His grace has no measure,

His pow’r has no boundary known unto men;

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,

He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”

Songwriters: Hubert Mitchell / Annie Johnson Flint

Barbara Hilderbrand and husband, Derrald, live in Wausau, Wisconsin. They’ve served in various ministerial roles within the UPCI over the past fifty years – pastoring in Illinois, Alaska, Wisconsin, and Global Missions’ Europe/ME region. Barb also served in Ladies Ministries in Alaska and Wisconsin. They now eagerly await their next assignment and/or the NEXT stamp on their passports.


  1. Kris L Mandley

    So good to see this, Sis. Hildebrand. I needed this message today. I can hear you singing this old hymn.