5 Steps to Solving Problems


Leaders play an important role in the lives of people. They are counselors, motivators, and visionaries. They hold one of the most trusting positions because it takes a lot for others to look to someone as a leader; it opens them up to a sense of vulnerability. In order for a leader to be successful they must posses various traits one being a problem solver. Leaders exist because there is a problem in a particular area. For example for issues with national and international affairs we have a president, for issues regarding health we have doctors, and for spiritual issues we have pastors. 


"Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord:and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest" (2 Kings 4:1-7)

Within this passage we can pull 5 principles of problem solving for leaders:

1. Identify the real need or problem

While this may be a seemingly simple thing to identify it can prove to be elusive as the key is to identify the right need. In this scripture the solution would seemingly be that she needed to pay her debt in order to save her sons from being taken as payment. The fact is that was only a portion of the problem. The real need is that she need a sustainable income. By only addressing the need directly in front of her what would stop her from being in this same situation again. In that era a widowed woman was thought to be of a low class and/or poor because there was no husband to provide for them. The real need is a solution that would sustain her and her family. 

"And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest"

2. Give pure guidance

The widowed woman was desperate and vulnerable state having done all that she can. As a leader it is important that it guidance is given in its purest from. When people are desperate they are willing take extraordinary to resolve their situation. It is at this point where leader's run the risk of taking advantage of people. Elisha asked what he could do for her without a counter proposition. There were no conditions set regarding what she could do in return for him in return for solving her problem. Guidance must be given in benefit of the one who searches for it not the one that gives it. Guidance that comes from the leading of the Holy Spirit will ensure that it is in its purest form.   

"And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house?"

3. Understand that a seed must be planted

Any blessing requires a seed; it is the law of the land if you sow you will reap; sowing a seed will result in a harvest. The man of God asked the widowed woman what she had in her house and she informed him that she only had a pot of oil left. I believe that there was another seed planted and that was of the husband. It was the husband being a spiritual son of the Elisha that she was able to gain access to the Elisha. The woman identified her husband as being one who feared the Lord and was a faithful servant. This was the seed that was planted as it allowed access to go to the Elisha; a seed allows access. 

"And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil."

"Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord:..."

4. Clear instructions must be given

Elisha gave the widowed women clear instructions. He told her to go and borrowed some vessels and borrow not a few. Secondly, he told her to shut the door upon her and her sons and to began to poor the oil. Thirdly, he told her to pay her debt first and live off the rest. Elisha had to be clear on his instructions so that there would be no room for a misunderstanding or questions. 

"Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full."

5. Obedience is a must

There were specific instructions that Elisha gave to the widow woman and deviation of the plan would have thrown the blessing off. What if the widowed woman only borrowed two vessels because she only saw the immediate need? The scripture said that the only reason the oil stopped pouring was because there were no more vessels. What if she left the door open before she started pouring? Then it leaves the door open for negativity and doubts to enter in. Stress the importance of the obedience to God's instructions is essential as obedience allows blessings to flow. Instructions must be given in the way that God gives it without adding or taking from it. 

"So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed."


To my readers:


As leaders we are sought to be problem solvers and we must be ready and willing to be able to tend to the needs of those who look to us. We must be properly guide by the spirit of the Lord to make sure that we giving the correct advice. Leaders carry the weight of influence and with that influence comes great accountability by those that they led and more importantly by God. I believe that these 5 principles are a guide to ensure that we are giving the best solutions to problems. 1) Identify the real problem 2) Give pure guidance that is free from ulterior motives 3) Plant a seed - a seed allows access 4) Give clear instructions; leave no room for misunderstanding 5) Obedience is a must; as God gives us instructions we must relate them in the same manner that it was given without taking anything from it or adding our own opinion of experience to it. 

Reflect. Inspire. Change
Ewing Ikard II

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