This article is the first in a series under the overall theme, ‘Going beyond the expected’. It is based on the premise that so many people in life do the minimum and yet expect extraordinary results.
Someone has said that we live in a world populated by people with low commitment but who have high expectations of others. The basic thrust of this series is that when we go beyond the expected, we can rightfully expect outstanding results or outcomes.
In this first article we will look at the life of a woman who lived in ancient Israel. The story is found in 2nd Kings 4:8-37 and 8:1-6. The subtext of this message is: ‘make that extra space or room for God’s amazing blessings’.
The backdrop to the story is that the prophet Elisha and his servant would take a particular route in the course of their itinerant ministry. In one of the towns on their route there lived a wealthy woman. Whenever they stopped by, the woman would prepare them a meal and provide them somewhere to sleep.
After some time this woman discussed and agreed with her husband to build a small room for the prophet and his servant, furnish it with a bed, table, chair and lamp, so that when travelers came by they would find dedicated space to rest.
On one particular day whilst they were in the woman’s home, Elisha asked his servant, Gehazi, what he could do for the woman, as a show of gratitude for all the care that they had received. When the woman herself was asked, she expressed satisfaction with her lot in life. She said she was happy with her status in life and did not need anything else.
However, later on, Gehazi told Elijah that the woman did not have a son, and her husband was an old man. Elisha called her back and told her that by the same time in the following year, she would be holding a son. In due course, the woman conceived and gave birth to a son.
Time passed and the woman’s son suddenly took ill and died. The woman got ready, and travelled upwards of 20 kilometres to the prophet, pleaded with him and brought him back to her house. Elisha performed a miracle by raising the woman’s son back to life.
Later on there was a famine. Elisha warned the woman to move away to a neighbouring country until the famine was over. On her return she found that her land had been taken over. She decided to go and plead her cause with the king.
In the meantime, as she was on her way, Gehazi was regaling the king of Israel about the time Elisha had brought the woman’s son back to life and the many other miracles that God had used the prophet to perform. At that very moment, the woman walked into the king’s court to make her appeal about her properties that had been seized. Gehazi exclaimed, ‘This is the woman now. And this is the very son he brought back to life!’
Once the story had been verified, the King ordered his officials to restore to the woman all the land that had been taken, and the value of all the crops that had been grown on the land during her absence.
What this story shows is that when we act selflessly, going the extra mile, just as the woman did, God will bless us in a most extraordinary ways. The woman was blessed with a son; despite the fact her husband was old. Secondly, we learn that even though the gift or blessing God has given seems to have been taken away, God in His infinite power and grace is able to restore it. God restored the woman’s son, her lands and seemingly lost proceeds from the crops that were grown on her land while she was away.
If God can do it for the woman, He can do it for you today; as long as you create that extra space, showing your willingness to go beyond the expected.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2014©
PS: If you have been inspired, provoked or learnt something from this article, why not do any or all of the following: (i) leave some feedback or a comment, either positive or developmental; (ii) recommend it to a friend; (iii) share it with a friend. This will encourage and help me to serve you better, so together we can make a difference in our world.