Something to Offer
Everyone has something to offer
by Helen Redfern (revised, originally published in 2008)
Suitable for Key Stage 3
To show that we always have something to offer in life, however small that may be.
Preparation and materials
- You will need to familiarize yourself with the Bible story found in 2 Kings 4.1–7. You may wish to read this story from the Bible or use the paraphrase found below.
If X Factor auditions were held in (your town) for your age group, how many of you would apply?
If Britain’s Got Talent came to (your town), who would go along to the audition?
If David Beckham wanted to set up a football academy here in (your town), which of you would go for a trial?
Some of you are really good at singing, or have a particular talent, or are gifted at football. But most of us are not. Some of you will be sitting there feeling that you are not good at anything. There’s nothing you can do. You have nothing to offer.
The woman in our story today thought she had nothing, too. The story is from 2 Kings 4.1–7.
When the woman's husband died, she was left with massive debts. She had nothing to live on, let alone any spare money to pay off her husband's debts. The men demanding the cash were threatening to take her two sons as slaves if she could not pay up. She was totally desperate!
There was no State benefits system or Citizens Advice service to turn to in those days. In desperation, the woman went for help to a man of God called Elisha. Interestingly, he did not just give her what she needed and solve the problem. Instead, he got her to look at what she had and how she could use it.
‘Tell me, what do you have in the house?’ he asked her.
The woman answered, ‘Your servant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.’
You may well be thinking, ‘What use could a jar of oil possibly be?’ Well, in many ways, you are right! After all, the woman couldn’t cook anything with the oil without any ingredients. What on earth could she do with it? Surely she would never get the money and save her boys from slavery with just a jar of oil! But Elisha told her to collect empty vessels from all her neighbours and to pour oil from her jar into the empty vessels.
All her neighbours must have thought that she was mad. It must have taken a lot of courage for the woman to go through with the plan. However, she did exactly as Elisha had said, and miraculously, she filled all the vessels she collected with oil. She was able to pay off all the debts that her husband had accumulated and then live off the rest of the money. Her sons were safe!
The woman started off with very little oil; in fact, virtually none. But when she started using it, it became something more, and ended up becoming the solution to her problem.
Sometimes we can feel just like this woman; we feel as if we have nothing to give. But everyone has some ability, however small. It takes courage to use the little we have, because we are scared of being laughed at. But as we begin to use and develop our small talent, it can grow into something amazing, just like the jar of oil.
Time for reflection
Let us take some time to reflect on the abilities and positive characteristics that we each have.
Pause for thought.
Now let us think about how we can use all that we have for good.
Pause for thought.
Thank you for the talents that you have given me.
Please help me to see the value in all that I do.
Please help me to use all that I have.
Please help me to encourage others to use their gifts positively for good.
Thank you that, with your help, we can turn nothing into something.
‘Make me a channel of your peace’ (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 499, 2008 edition)