I come from a family where parents are self-made people who account God’s faithfulness to their financial blessing. There had been an intense financial cringe during my parents initial years of marriage, which made my parents realise the value of money in a marital relationship. They often tell me about the need for sound finance and how financial stability is not a luxury but a necessity. I value and respect their wisdom and experiences. However, I want to elaborate on using the widow’s story in Elisha’s times, whose husband died (2 Kings 4. 1-7). She cried out to Elisha when creditors were coming to take away her sons as she could not pay back the money. She was crushed terribly as she already lost her beloved, now her children’s lives were at stake. The scene is mind-numbing and desperate, as she is trying to hold on to a remaining family. Even so, here I see a woman who valued relationships.
It may appear that she is upset with her husband when she mentions him as “Your servant my husband” (2 Kings 4.1). We see a similar pattern in the New Testament when Lazarus is sick and later dies. His sisters send word to Jesus, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick.” (John 11.3). Could it be that these women were trying to assert how and why their needs or pleas should matter to God? In other words, their demands are worthy of being valued by God because of their relationship. It is also interesting to note the shift in the old and new covenant. Identity in the old covenant was marked by what one did, while in the new covenant, it is based on who one is to Christ. We are Christ’s beloved. It is not our works but the love of the Father that transforms circumstances for us. The love that Father has for us transcends our understanding. The emphasis in John 11.5 establishes Jesus’ relationship with them over their relationship with him.
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. (John 11.5)
Your being is defined by who you are to the Father, who is absolutely in love with you.
Coming back to the widow and her sons, here we see a woman for whom her relationship with her husband, her sons, the prophet and the Lord were significant for her being. Though this is contrary to the popular idea of feminism, which says women’s identity when expressed in relation to the male members’ bounds or limits her. And it is true because, in the current socio-political times, these relationships are oppressive, where women are considered inferior to men, where the superiority is in exploiting. However, we have been relational beings since creation. We are created to be connected to God and one another. Therefore, Jesus says in loving God and people, the entire law is fulfilled (Matthew 22.37-40). A Christ-centered or Christ initiated relationship is not aimed at oppressing but at partaking with Him and people. It doesn’t act as a chain or bondage but becomes the source of courage and honour. The widow could do what the prophet commanded with boldness because she trusted the word and relationship. Otherwise, I cannot imagine a mother collecting vessels when creditors were about to enslave her children. The instance assures that we trust the word when we value the relationship we have with the Father.
Scriptures do not say how much the credit was, nor how much money she made. But we see the prophet asking her to pay the debt by selling the oil and live on the rest (2 Kings 4.7). “Live on the rest” affirms that when the floodgates of the heavens are open for you, it is not limited to your need. The Lord God always exceeds our wildest imagination because He is the good Father.
The above illustration intends not to say money doesn’t matter, and God will lavishly provide when you are stuck, which I am sure He will because of His faithfulness. Nevertheless, the questions are:
- What are we valuing?
- Are our relationships Christ-centred?
- In the middle of the crisis, do we have the audacity to hold on to relationships?
- What are our fundamentals about finances?
I want to bless each of you with healthy and beautiful relationships, which not only fills your heart but gives you confidence when you have to face any kind of lack. You are not alone is the most significant promise that comforts us in the valleys of life.