We are currently experiencing a whole new terrain. Our society is not used to such drastic changes in our everyday lives, in such devastating ways. We are secure in our...
“What do you have in your house?”
What is the biggest challenge facing people in Ireland today? Inequality, healthcare, housing?
Bereket Tadese, one of Tearfund Ireland’s partners recently told us that changing and erratic weather patterns are the biggest challenge apart from conflict facing the people of Ethiopia today.
I think about Lebiso, a farmer in Ethiopia who has been farming since the age of 15. Lebiso tells us “Climate change has made farming so difficult that some farmers have even had to start begging for their daily food.”
Photo: Lebiso and his wife working in their field. Credit: Tearfund Canada
2 Kings 4:1-7 tells a story that is still happening today for many people just like Lebiso and his family.
A woman left widowed in a devastating and vulnerable situation. Her husband had died, with a debt that now transferred over to his wife.
She seems to have had no form of income and the creditors were coming to take her children to work for them as slaves in payment of the debt.
She had almost no hope left – but she took the initiative and went to God’s people for help – the prophet Elisha.
Elisha asked her question, a question that Jesus often asked people too – “What do you want me to do for you?” He didn’t assume he knew. Nor perhaps should we when we seek to come alongside others.
He followed it up with another question:
“What do you have in the house?”
This widow was in a desperate situation. She was about to lose her children. She was quick to reply – “I have nothing” – and we can often feel like we have nothing in the face of difficult and challenging circumstances.
Then maybe, like the widow, we realise we have something tiny. She had a small bit of oil.
Elisha tells her to take what she has, go to her neighbours, ask for jars and begin to fill them with the oil from her tiny jar. As she begins pouring the oil, God does a miracle and she has enough to fill multiple jars, which she subsequently sells to pay off her debt and support her family.
Using the resources she had, with God’s intervention, she was now able to look towards a flourishing future.
In Ethiopia, God is restoring creativity, giving new insights and shared wisdom into how to farm the land using the resources farmers already have to hand, to withstand the unpredictability of changing weather patterns.
It is incredible how something small can become something significant – just like a whole plant can emerge from a small seed – God gives the increase.
Lebiso and his family felt locked in a desperate situation, his children had to leave school and some had to leave home.
Yet like the widow, Lebiso already had the resources to change his situation with God’s help. Lebiso received training from Tearfund Ireland partners to use the land he already had differently and then came the harvest!
Photo: Lebiso taking care of his Conservation Agriculture farm. Credit: Tearfund Canada
Not only that, but he has gone further to help his neighbours farm better too.
With whatever challenge or difficulty, you are facing take a moment to consider how you would answer the prophet’s question:
“What do you have in your house?”
Cover Photo: Drought stricken ground in an Ethiopian field. Credit: Tearfund Canada