Today’s Bible reading tells the story of the widow of one of the sons of the prophets, whose late husband owed some money to a heartless creditor, who threatened to take away her two sons as slaves.
After listening to her complaint, the man of God said to her in 2 Kings 4:3
“… Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.”
This instruction indirectly placed the solution to her problems in the hands of her neighbors, because her ability to get the many empty vessels she needed depended on how good a neighbor she had been
Among the Jewish people in the Bible days, loams were not supposed to be commercial in nature; rather, they were to be given on charitable terms. For example, interest-free loans would be given to assist a peasant Farmer during a period of poverty. The primary motivation of borrowers was to obtain a relief from need rather than to further their economic enterprises. For this reason, lending with interest to the poor was prohibited in Exodus 22:25.
God’s expectation is that lending to the poor will be a form of sacrifice motivated by the spirit of mercy and compassion in obedience to Him ( Proverbs 3:27-28). Although the Bible encourages us not to deny the poor and needy who approach us for help, we determine who deserves our help and how far we are ready to go on their behalf based on factors such as good neighborliness.
In Acts 9:36-41, the neighbours of Tabitha protested vehemently against her death and pleaded passionately with Apostle Peter for her to be raised back to life because she was full of good works and almsdeeds. In Luke 7:1-10, the elders of the Jews approached Jesus on behalf of a centurion who had a sick servant.
They pleaded with Him, saying this man deserved His assistance because he had shown his love for them by building a synagogue. Without controversy, good neighborliness played a very big role in these cases we have considered. In the case of the widow in 2 Kings 4:1-6, the fact that she went to her neighbors and got the vessels she needed indicates that she had been a good neighbor to them.
Imagine if she was the kind of person who was not known to her neighbours or if she was a proud and difficult person; she would have been denied those vessels she needed and her miracle would have been a mirage, God charged us in Romans 12:18 to live peacefully with all men, knowing fully well that apart from it being a source to us, a peaceful coexistence with our neighbours will give us the much-needed opportunity to preach the good news to them.
Open Heaven May 25, 2018, Action point:
Make peace with every neighbour you are not at peace with.