1 Kings 17:13, 15 (NIV)
13 Elijah said to [the widow], “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said… 15 “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.
Today we begin the third week of our “Why Give?” journey. John Devries’ focus today is the Old Testament story of Elijah and the widow. In the middle of a devastating drought and famine, Elijah asks the widow to use the little remaining flour and olive oil she has to make a small loaf of bread for him. Elijah tells her that the God of Israel says the jar of flour and jug of oil will not dry up until the Lord sends rain on the land.
Elijah is asking the widow to trust that God will provide for her and her son. The petition “Give us this day our daily bread” comes to mind. The widow desperately needs every bit of the flour and oil she has, but now God is asking her to give some of it to this man of God, Elijah. I wonder what was going through the widow’s mind as she prepared the loaf of bread. How confident was she that this was all going to turn out the way Elijah said it would?
This account of Elijah and the widow reminds me of thoughts I have had regarding giving. The widow was essentially being asked to give away everything she had, even though there wasn’t much to start with. There are other similar stories in the Bible; the account of Jesus’ encounter with the Rich Young Man is one of them. Each time, the individual is asked to give everything away and trust God to provide.
This makes me think - would I do it? Would I give away everything I have if I sensed God calling me to do that? There are a number of things I own that would be easy to give away – I’ve been itching to have a giant garage sale for quite some time now. But would I really give EVERYTHING away? I believe that anything I would not be willing to give away is an idol.
The part that Devries speaks about – giving God the opportunity to multiply our gift – for me, that is all in God’s hands. I tend to focus on my giving: What am I holding on to? What is the condition of my heart toward giving? What are the idols I am placing before God?
What about you? Would you respond to Elijah the same way as the widow did? Is there anything you are holding on to? Are there any idols getting in the way of your love and trust in God?
May God grant us the strength and courage to trust Him the way the widow did!