Get More Jars


In John Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” he talks about the Law of the Lid. It states that your abilities determine your effectiveness. The lower or fewer your abilities are, the lower your lid is on your potential to make a difference. The more abilities you have, the greater your potential to impact others is. We each have a lid on our lives that is determined by the abilities we’ve been given. However, we have not been given equal abilities or the same ones. If you remember the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), you will remember that the master gave out a different number of talents based on their abilities. Just like in the parable, you and I are not capped with what we’ve been given. We have the potential to increase our abilities and raise our lid, thereby increasing our potential to make a difference.

In 2 Kings 4, there’s the story of a widow whose husband left her with a lot of debt when he died. He owed so much that the person who loaned it to him was going to take his two sons as payment for the debt leaving this widow without any protection or income potential. She asked Elisha for help her. He asked what she had and she told him that she only had a little bit of oil (a very low lid). He told her to go get jars from her all neighbors. Once she did, she was to take what little oil she had and begin filling those jars. That’s what she and her sons did. Verse 6 says, “When they had filled the jars, she asked if there were any more. ‘That was the last one,” one of her sons answered. And the olive oil stopped flowing” (GNT). She went back to Elisha who told her to sell the oil, pay off her husband’s debt and then live off the rest of the money.

Notice how the oil stopped when she ran out of jars. God gave to her according to what she had. If she had more jars, He would have given her more oil. God always gives in proportion to what we have. If you are going to raise your lid, you’re going to have to get more jars. You need to increase your abilities. It’s not someone else’s responsibility to increase them for you. Remember, the widow had to go get the jars and she had to fill them. You will need to do something to increase your abilities like take a step of faith before you see the next step or change the people that you are around. The people around you may be placing a lid on your potential. We are each a product of the process we have in our lives. Those processes are giving you the results you have right now. You can’t change your effectiveness until you change your abilities. To do that, you’re going to have to get more jars. You’re going to have to make some changes and do some things you’ve never done that are beyond your current abilities. If you don’t, you won’t be much different than the servant who buried his talent in the sand.

Photo by Vansh Sharma from Pexels

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Get More Jars

  1. I have a copy of the book you mentioned. As I recall, the Law of the Lid is the first one in the book. Frankly, when I first read that chapter, I thought “Well, I can only do so much and that’s it. Why even try?” But that’s not what Maxwell meant. It is, in fact, possible to lift your lid by improving your skills.

    Everyone comes into leadership lacking something. For instance, I’m a natural negotiator, but sometimes cringe at the difficult conversations that are involved. But I’ve gotten better at dealing with these. How? By having more difficult conversations.

    Thank you for another compelling post, brother! Blessings.

    • It is the first one. I believe he put it first because of how important it is that we improve what God has entrusted us with. I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” when I get to Heaven.

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