Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In Plenty or In Want

God's Word has this strange tendency to linger. You read a passage, a verse, a story, and weeks later it is still with you. Whatever you read pops back up in conversation, in your thoughts, during your prayers... and at some point, you take notice and realize that He is doing this purposefully.

I don't want to go into long, boring details - I'm sure once you read this story, you can put the puzzle pieces together yourself. But this passage is such a beautiful picture of God's faithfulness to those who give all they have to Him.

Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath
1 Kings 17:7-16
Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.  Then the word of the Lord came to him:  “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”  So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?”  As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”

She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

I hope to be more like this widow. She was obedient even though she was afraid. I often think that the best times for me to give - and I don't just mean financially - are when we have extra. Extra time, extra energy, extra money. But I find the times when I am most satisfied with serving the Lord are when it hurts to give. When I am tired, when I am poor, when I am spent. And maybe those times are when He is most satisfied with me.

It is a scary prayer to pray, but I do pray that God teaches us to give even during our own times of need. When we could easily say that we are the ones in need of rest, in need of peace, in need of an extra few dollars. He will be faithful to grant us what we truly do need, just as he did with the Widow of Zarephath. 

Philippians 4:12 - "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." 

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