|Photo by Per Olof Forsberg|
"You just have to learn to think outside the box."
"We value creative people who think outside the box."
"The only way our company is going to grow is if we all start thinking outside the box."
I'm sure we've all heard statements similar to these. I believe many of us want to be creative, original, "outside the box" innovators. The problem we can run into, though, is if all these great "outside the box" ideas do not have the necessary resources "within the box," then we run into problems.
Let me give you two Bible stories that illustrate what I'm talking about.
The Widow’s Olive Oil
In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we read the story of a widow who was getting hounded by creditors. She had debt that needed to be paid off, but she had very limited resources. In fact, as she looked "inside the box" of her home, she pretty much concluded that she had nothing.
She told the prophet Elisha that she only had "…a small jar of olive oil." That's what was inside her box. In her mind, these limited resources would not be enough.
Then, Elisha had the widow borrow empty jars from her neighbors. Taking the empty jars, plus the little oil she had left "inside her box," she was to keep pouring that little bit of oil until all the empty jars were filled. Then, Elisha told her to go and sell all of the olive oil. He promised her that she would have enough money to pay off her debts PLUS have money leftover to live on.
The Boy With Two Loaves And Five Fish
In John 6:5-13, we read the story of God feeding the five thousand through a miracle that Jesus performed with only five small loaves of bread and two small fish.
You see, when Jesus made the decision that He wanted to feed the people that had come out to the countryside to hear Him preach, He asked His disciples what was "inside their box" at that particular moment in time. The only food resources they could come up with were the small loaves and fish of a young boy.
Jesus took these limited resources that "were in the box," and He worked an incredible miracle.
What's In Your Box?
Okay, so by now I'm sure you're thinking, "Larry, these are great Bible stories, but how does this apply to me?" Hey, I'm glad you asked. Here's some real life application.
First, we must be realistic and accept what is inside our own boxes. If we're trying to accomplish a great task for the Lord, but our resources seem extremely slim, then we need to accept for that moment in time what our actual resources are to accomplish the work. Use the limited resources to the best of your ability.
Second, give thanks for your limited resources inside the box. We can all wish we had more time, more money, more people, or more talent. We can all look outside our boxes, our spheres of resources, and want more outside of the box and place into our own boxes. The reality is that we have what we have for this moment. Praise God and thank Him for what He has provided for you to accomplish the mission.
Third, pray and ask the Lord to bless and multiply your limited resources within the box. Nothing is too small for God. He can stretch and multiply whatever He has given you to accomplish His Kingdom purposes.
"Inside the box" thinking includes the following: Accept. Be thankful. Pray for God to bless and multiply whatever is in the box for His honor and glory.
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