Reading through the book of Kings, we find so many leaders who themselves did not honor God or His laws till we come to Ahab. It says He did more to provoke the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him. He deliberately bowed down to Baal and led his people to do the same. God was so upset He sent His prophet Elijah to make this declaration in 1 Kings 17. As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives–the God I serve–there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word. Wow, not even dew to bring its refreshing. (How would you like to be Elijah, giving that word??) We must remember that our acts of disobedience affect many. The good news is that God made provision for Elijah. He sent him to live by a brook and be fed by ravens. Not sure what that looked like–how much food could a raven bring? Were there a lot of them???
But one day the brook dried up. More instructions given. Go to Zarephath. Find a widow, for I have instructed her to feed you. So obedient Elijah heads to Zarephath, finds a widow gathering sticks and asks her to bring him a little water in a cup. This unknown widow, in the midst of a drought, goes to get it for him. Then Elijah asks her to bring him a bite of bread also. Then the truth comes out. She has no bread. Only a little bit of flour, and a bit of oil in the bottom of the jug. Her plan was to use up the last of what she had to cook a last supper for her and her son, and then die. But that was not God’s plan. He told her to use what she had to make him some bread first, trusting that she would not run out.
As I was reading this story this morning, I began to remember some of our “leaner” seasons as pioneer pastors. I would pray, Lord I don’t know what to fix for dinner. We are out of food. He would say, NO you are not. Look at what you have. It was like he took me by the hand and led me to the pantry and showed me how to put together a decent meal for my family. He showed me that not only did I have one meal worth of food–but several! Maybe we had used up all our “favorite” things, but there was never a meal I was embarrassed to feed my children. Supply would come and we would rejoice.
In this season of struggle, maybe it is not groceries you need. Maybe it is wisdom, may be it is patience, maybe it’s hope–but no matter what it is, God sees and wants to supply. For this widow lady, her supply came in her willingness to share. I wondered what she thought as she began making Elijah’s first bite. Would there really be enough for her and her son? Yes! She began to make theirs, and low and behold there was enough! Every day they experienced the miracle Elijah promised her. How amazing it must have been. Do you think her neighbors heard her story? Do you wonder if she shared some of the flour and oil with them? We aren’t told if she shared, we are only told the faithfulness of the Lord to meet her needs.
I want us to focus on what it is we have–not on what we don’t have. If you have time, share it. Make a phone call to encourage someone. If you have extra food, share it with someone in need. Maybe you have a talent or skill you learned, look around for opportunities to pass it on. My sister, who is good at sewing, made many many masks for her church, family and friends. She shared her talent. My daughter had a pastor friend whose church wanted to help meet needs in their area. They were a small church and could only put together 3 boxes of food, which definitely was not enough to help many. The pastor called a friend who through his contacts, they were able to give away 200 boxes a week! The widow and her son was not enough, Elijah on his own was not enough–but together they lived. We may not be enough on our own, but with two or three gathered in His name, we will have enough to figure it out! In the book of Acts the fledgling church looked after the needs of others. They shared what they had. They church grew. I think it makes God smile when we share!