Steven Furtick - Need Encouragement?
It is the seemingly insignificant insecurities that make you feel like, "I'm not a real man. I'm not a real mom. Now I'm yelling at my daughter just like my mom yelled at me, and I'm just repeating the cycle". It causes you to despise your oil. That's exactly what the Enemy wants: to use a small little thing to get you to miss your miracle, because your miracle is hidden in what you've been overlooking. The reason you've been overlooking it is because it seems so small to you, and the reason it seems small to you is because you are insecure about what you're not. He'll work on you until you call it nothing. "What do you have to be grateful for"? "Nothing". "Really? Nothing"? "What are you good at"? "Nothing".
We went around the table the other day, and I asked a group of people, "What are you really great at"? It took us all a long time to answer. I wonder why that is. Because we're so humble or because the Enemy has messed with us so much now…? We're all on the verge of 40, and we've gotten so familiar with our deficiency… When you've lived in a deficit for a long time, it overshadows the oil you do have. He wants you to despise your oil. He wants you to despise the season of life you're in. He wants you to be thinking about how much time you used to have back before or how much time you're going to have when. Meanwhile, the question of the prophet is not, "What do you wish you had in your house"?
What do you have left? That's what God is going to bless: what you have left. God is going to bless what he gave you. You are his chosen vessel, and the oil you have is the oil you need. The strengths you have are the strengths you need. The experiences you've had are the experiences you need. But notice the oil only flows when it is poured. You can pray over it, you can cry over it, you can wish for it, but until you pour it, it will stay one small jar. If the Enemy can't take your oil, he will try to get you to stop pouring.
Some of you have stopped pouring. You got your heart broken. You poured your love into your last relationship, and it didn't work out. They left you and hurt you and turned away from you, so you stopped pouring. When you stop pouring, it stops flowing. You used to encourage people, and then you got discouraged and stopped encouraging. God told me to tell you "Keep on pouring", because the more you pour, the more it's going to flow. We tend to think, "I'll pour more when I get more". But the way it works in the order of God is it becomes more as it is poured. Isn't it just like God to command you to pour something you don't feel like you have enough of? Strange instruction. "I don't have much". "Pour it out".
It's the weirdest strategy in the world. I'm going to tell you, I think this stuff works. I think as you pour it out it becomes more. I'm convinced of it. I tried that thing where you feel sorry for yourself when you're discouraged. I tried the other thing where I encouraged somebody else when I felt discouraged. The first one took me deeper into my deficit and my discouragement. The second one… It's the weirdest thing, because I didn't feel like I had it to give. I wanted somebody to encourage me. Bitterness will keep you from pouring what you have while you wait for what you want. So then you stay poor. You stay frustrated. You stay stuck. You stay in bitterness.
I wonder if the woman was a little disappointed that the prophet told her to pour something. It's frustrating when you have to pour into someone else when you really wish someone would pour into you, yet the more you pour the more it flows. I'm just telling you what to do the next time. I know you haven't had any struggles in the last seven years, but in case you go through something this year… The more you pour, the more it flows. The Devil is so crafty he will put you in a state where you'll tell yourself, "Nobody appreciates me", so you'll stop giving yourself. It will reinforce that self-fulfilling prophecy, "Nobody appreciates me". They won't appreciate you because you'll stop pouring and they'll no longer have anything to appreciate about you. That's why Holly said the other day, "They don't even care what I cook". She was talking about the kids. She said, "They only want the noodles". She made this meal.
If you're considering marrying in this age we live in right now, there are a lot of things that can attract you to a person. I appreciate many qualities about my wife. I appreciate the fact that she has excelled to the point where she now… Can I tell y'all something? She grows her own Swiss chard. Do you know how bougie that is? Here's some homegrown Swiss chard and some chicken, and when the kids went back for seconds she said, "They don't care about the chicken. They don't care about the homegrown Swiss chard. They just want the noodles, that $1.29 box of noodles. They would be happy with just the noodles". I said, "Girl, I know exactly how you feel. I feel that way sometimes when I'm preaching". The Devil will tell me, "They really don't care. They're not going to remember this sermon".
It's the craziest thing how I get into self-pity. It's like, "They don't appreciate my scriptural Swiss chard, my biblical chicken". I looked at her and said, "Girl, if you don't cook it for anybody else, keep cooking the chicken for me. It's not even about those little brats. Let them eat the noodles. Give me the chicken. I want the Swiss chard". You have to have this sense in your life, servant of God, that "I'm not doing it for them", because sometimes you will pour into people and they won't say a word, but they're not your source. I might be pouring into people, but I'm pouring for the Lord. So I can keep pouring if you appreciate me. I can keep pouring if you don't. I can keep pouring if you stay. I can keep pouring if you walk out.
I'm so grateful God kept pouring into me when I seemed unprofitable. I have to keep pouring. It said she kept pouring. I wonder how stupid she felt when she first started pouring. Once it started working it was probably kind of fun. I will point out one thing I thought was kind of funny. Elisha told her in verse 3, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars". In verse 5 it says, "She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her…" She made her kids go to the neighbors. "You heard what the man said". She did one more thing I want to point out, and it's what enabled her to pour. She shut the doors. That's such an important detail in this text, because it is what you pour out in private when no one is looking.
A lot of us are so busy praying for more oil, more opportunity, more, more, more, more, more, and God says, "Pour, pour, pour, pour, pour". The more you pour, the more it flows. You're never going to pour out what you have while you're so busy consulting what everybody else has. You be like the woman who came in and poured out that expensive fragrance on the feet of Jesus. All of the men around called it a waste, and she called it worship. You're always going to feel like it's not enough, and even if you feel like it is enough you feel like it doesn't matter.
Have you had a day like that in the last seven where you felt like, "This doesn't even matter"? Shut the door and keep pouring. In fact, sometimes the best thing to do is shut your mouth and keep pouring, because the oil only became more when it was in motion and the oil only flowed when the vessels were ready. I don't think this message is really about the oil at all; I think it's about the vessels. When Elisha told her to go around to her neighbors, he gave her a very specific type of vessel to request. He said, "Make sure they're empty". God can't fill what's already full. That's why it's so important that you pour out your pride. That's why it's so important that we pour out our own opinions and come before the Lord empty. When the vessels are ready, the oil will flow.