The sun was beginning to set on this dry wasteland of once fertile soil. The dust rising in the west gave an orange glow to the clouds and set off a truly, magnificent sunset. But the young woman was too busy to notice. For her, today was nothing of beauty. Today was dark and ominous, clouds of doubt and fear engulfed her as she knelt low gathering sticks for her fire.
Her gloom spirit had put her in a nearly hypnotic state while she worked. Consumed by grief her body was gathering sticks on autopilot while her mind poured over the doubt and fear in her heart. When all at once she was startled back into this world by a man’s calm but loud voice. “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” he asked.
Though the drought had destroyed almost all her food, she did have a little water to spare. She turned toward her small home to fetch this weary traveler some water when he added “and bring me, please, a piece of bread.” Now bread she did not have, for this very night she was busy gathering wood for a fire for her and her son’s last meal. After tonight there would be no more food to eat. This was it, all they had, and now this strange traveler was asking for it all! Who was this man and how dare he ask for her last bit of food.
“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.” She replied. Thinking this would deter the man she turned back toward her home to fetch the promised water.
“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” the man commanded. Then he added “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.”
So the woman did as the traveler instructed and to her amazement, the jar of flour never went empty, the jar of oil never dried up, and her and her son didn’t die that night, they lived on.
What a great story to begin the New Year! This story is a fluffed up version of 1 Kings 17:7-16. There are so many things we can take away from this passage and I felt compelled to make this my first post of the New Year as a way of setting the tone for my mindset toward life and God and share with you my list of things this passage reminds me about our Father.
- Trust him with all you have – This woman was asked to give ALL her food. So often we think we’re doing everything right because we give our 10%, or we give God the first 15 minutes or last 15 minutes of the day. We think we’ve covered our bases because we prayed for 30 seconds before each meal and 5 minutes before bed. God doesn’t want a little of you, he wants everything you have!
- Give and it will multiply – The Lord uses you and me to do his work here on earth. We are the caregivers of our fellow man. What a tremendous opportunity we have to advance the Kingdom of God and help our fellow soldiers. One of God’s most used prophets could have starved during this drought had God not used a poor widow woman to care for him. In return, the Lord blesses her with more.
- God gives enough – Despite the fact that the woman had almost nothing, it was enough. Heck, she was about to eat her last foreseeable meal! She had nearly nothing, but it was enough. Don’t fear that you may not have much, you always have just enough to do the Lord’s work.
- One day at a time – The Lord blesses the woman for her faith, but notice the jar doesn’t fill up, it just doesn’t go empty. Let this be a reminder that we don’t need to stress about the future, the Lord will always provide enough for his followers if they are doing his work.
- Always be ready to serve – Well I’ve got this event tonight, I’ve got a big speech tomorrow, or, this is my last meal ever then I’ll die, whatever your excuse is, do not miss your chance to fulfill your purpose and serve our Lord. This woman could have easily just ignored the traveler and gone about her gloomy business. But in her darkest most dreadful hour, she paused just long enough to receive God’s blessing and serve him.
Imagine if this woman had turned around and walked back into the house. She and her son would eat their last meal and die. Most likely they’d have died unnoticed. But she took a leap of faith at just the moment that the opportunity appeared. As a result, she served the Lord, she fed Elijah, who would go on to do even more great works for God, she didn’t starve to death, and she made it into the most printed, most read, most talked about book of all time!
What will you do this year when the opportunity to serve the Lord comes before you?