home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > March 10th > EMPTY JARS, SHOVELS, OIL, HOLES and MIRACLES

I believe in miracles! Last Sunday night, several people gathered to pray for me and anoint me with oil for healing, including the Bishop of Tasmania Dr. Richard Condie, and Anglican archdeacon Bob McKay. Years ago, when Pastor Phil Hills was preaching, he said something that I wrote down in my Bible and have often repeated it to Kim, “Before God grants a miracle, do everything in the natural to make it possible!” As soon as I had heard this it seemed to have the Spirit’s anointing of truth all over it. As I read through the Scriptures I now see this principle often associated with God’s miracles. A poor widow had to do the possible to receive the impossible. Isaac’s servants had to dig a well in order to ‘miraculously’ find water. Peter had to get out of the boat and put his feet on the water before he could walk to the Lord. The bewildered disciples brought to Jesus the only solution they had to feed 5,000 people. And we must pray for miracles while we roll up our sleeves and do what we can in the meantime.

 

THE MIRACLE OF CANCELLING THE WIDOW’S DEBTS

¶ Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbours, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
Second Kings 4:1-7

Sometimes we pray for a miracle and miss the means by which God often wants to bring it about it. The story of the poor widow (who was the wife of “one of the sons of the prophets”) had been borrowing money since her husband’s death to keep her and her two young sons alive. But she had no means to repay her creditors. Through the prophet Elisha’s instruction, God did an outstanding miracle. I’m sure God could have just ‘magically’ made money appear for this widow to pay her creditor and protect her sons from being forced into indentured servitude. But the means of her miracle involved enterprise. She had to borrow empty jars. She had pour what little oil she had out of her existing jar into these empty jars. She then had to report back to the prophet Elisha. Finally, she had to go and sell the oil in the jars. Opportunities are most often God’s initial answer to our plea for a miracle!

 

THE MIRACLE OF WATER IN A FRESHLY DUG HOLE

That same day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well
that they had dug and said to him, “We have found water.”
Genesis 26:32

Isaac had inherited wells from his father, Abraham. But these were sabotaged by the neighbouring inhabitants of Canaan. While water is essential anywhere on earth, it is rather prized in dry, arid, parts of the world where Isaac and his companions were. Our lives sometimes ‘get dry’. We too pray for the ‘ground’ to not be so hard and for God to give us some ‘water’. In praying for water though, God often provides a shovel. Isaac’s men used their digging implements to dig. It would be a very odd picture indeed if while holding a shovel someone prayed to God for a hole in the ground without ever using that shovel to start digging!

In times of spiritual drought sometimes we pray for rain instead of digging a well.

¶ “Behold, God is my salvation;I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
and He has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And you will say in that day:“Give thanks to the LORD,
call upon His name,
make known His deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that His name is exalted.
Isaiah 12:2-4

As a church we are digging ‘a well’ from which parched and thirsty people from around our distract will be attracted and invited to drink deeply. Attracted. We can pray that people will be attracted to the ‘well of salvation’ but we must be prepared to dig. Attracted. Perhaps there’s nothing more attractive than an invitation. Perhaps for some the attraction to the well begins by driving past our facility and noticing the care and love that has been put into our lawns and grounds by Alan Harris and Lydia Braam. For others it might be the attraction of our brightly coloured painted building that Tom Nielsen has so masterfully gifted us with. For others it might be that they see the dozens and dozens of cars in the carpark each Sunday parked in a neat and orderly fashion because someone has painstakingly taken the time each week to gather the scattered white pebbles and carefully place them back in their neat markings. We don’t just pray for revival rain, we also dig “wells of salvation”!

 

THE MIRACLE OF THE GOSPEL’S POWER

The greatest miracle of all (apart from the incarnation and resurrection of the Christ) is when a lost soul is born-again by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit through the agency of the preaching of the Gospel. During my brief absence from being with you, Kim and I have been praying for souls to be saved each Sunday in our worship and teaching service. But it is not just about our church, our postcode, our church roll, or even our city—God’s heart for the lost extends across our State and beyond. So Kim and I pray each Sunday in particular that every church in our valley would see at least one person choose to follow Christ! We digging in prayer! But we are also digging by inviting. (In a couple of weeks when I return I will share with you some of the extraordinary mail that Kim and I have received from non-churched people who have written to us about their experience of being attracted to our church and how it has begun something in them.) This is why we dig each Sunday by sharing a salvation testimony of the Gospel’s power to transform a life. It’s why we dig by putting so much effort into our Livestream. It’s why Lois Kidmas and her team dig each Sunday by discipling the children of our church. We want to see more miracles – especially the miracles of seeing lives won to the Saviour. That’s why we dig because that’s how we get oil, water, provision, and salvations! Let’s dig together!

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

10 Comments

  1. LYDIA

    Hello Andrew I am glad you are punching the keys. One thing that I appreciated which you wrote was this: ” It would be a very odd picture indeed if while holding a shovel someone prayed to God for a hole in the ground without ever using that shovel to start digging!”. It is ever so true.

    Secondly ah…there is joy, joy in the Lord that as people drive past and notice our buildings and the grounds that they wonder what is happening there, or the cars in the car park as one person once mentioned to me, that there must be ‘something’ happening there! And there is!

    And one of the choruses of a song we sang last year is:
    There’s joy in the house of the Lord
    There’s joy in the house of the Lord today
    And we won’t be quiet
    We shout out Your praise

    You taught me how to say ‘thank you’ so thank you…

    Digging together sounds fabulous to me!
    Miracles do indeed happen.

    Reply
      • Sophia Saltmarsh

        How wonderful, what a tremendous encouraging word Pastor Andrew.As we take on,”Attitudes for Action “,we apply ourselves with great hope and tenacity, knowing the Lord will move as He knows what is best always.God is the God of Miracles! We are so privileged, to be part of Legana Christian church,and are joining you in prayer for the lost,in this city,and beyond.

        Reply
        • Dr. Andrew Corbett

          Thank you Sophia. You and your family are a vital part of our story too.
          -A.

          Reply
  2. Michael Dickson

    I heard recently Legana is one of the fastest growing suburbs in Australia.

    Digging hard now for the living water seems appropriate if we are to water the thirsty that are coming…

    Reply
    • Dr. Andrew Corbett

      Yes Michael, Legana certainly seems to be burgeoning. You’re right, this is not the time for us to be slowing down, stopping, taking it easy, or sitting back. That’s why we have to get to as many “empty jars” as we can and keep digging “wells of salvation” for the spiritually parched of our district!
      -A.

      Reply
  3. Noel cameron

    Great message pastor Andrew! We had my brother’s son Daniel stay with us recently. He’s been involved in bikie gangs and drug dealing and has been in prison for 20 years. He’s got saved and now gone back to Brisbane and is winning others to the Lord! He’s now doing bible college praise God! It’s time for the prodigals to come home!

    Reply
    • Dr. Andrew Corbett

      Thank you for sharing that Noel. What you have shared are the kinds of stories that we love to hear. It’s a beautiful thing when the power of gospel and the Holy Spirit transforms a lost and broken life into a trophy of grace.
      -A.

      Reply
  4. Gladys Parry

    Thank you Andrew. Another great message.Continue to regain your strength.

    Reply

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