1 Kings 17:15-16
“She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the widow and her son. 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.”
The Miracle in Sharing Your Not Enough
My Pastor recently preached a sermon and that thirty-five minute sermon can best be summed up as follows:
“Where there is a temple, there is a need.
Where there is a need, there is provision.
Where there is provision, there is God.
Where there is God, there is a mystery.”
(~ Ralph Douglas West)
As I was meditating on our new faith confession for my own life God showed me the mystery of blessing others sacrificially with what we have left.
Where there is a temple, there is a need….
In 1 Kings chapter 17 Prophet Elijah shows up on the scene during a time of famine in Israel. God informs Elijah that a drought is coming upon Israel and Elijah in turn informs or prophecies to King Ahab what God has spoken. While Israel is in famine God instructs Elijah to go hide at the Kerith Ravine in which God will provide Elijah ravens for food and the brook for water. While Elijah was in hiding the brook dried up due to the famine and he was in need of food and water again. (1 Kings 17:1-7)
Where there is a need, there is provision…
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.” (1 Kings 17:8-9) Elijah did as God instructed him and proceeded to the widow’s house. We can note here there is a blessing for seeking God and His instructions in our time of need and there is a blessing in our obedience for doing what God tells us to do which we will also see displayed later in the widow’s life. When Elijah arrives to Zarephath he meets the widow out gathering sticks to prepare her meal. To the widow’s surprise this stranger shows up on her property and asks her for food and drink. I can only imagine some of us probably would have given this stranger the side eye and demanded them off our property. The widow did not do this. At first the widow replied to Elijah with a legitimate excuse. She let him know she did not have a loaf of bread. All she had were the ingredients of flour and a little bit of oil. She was going to use these two ingredients to make a meal for her son, basically their last supper, and then they would die of starvation. After the widow’s fearful response 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.” (1 Kings 17:13)
Where there is provision, there is God….
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.’” (1 Kings 17:14) Once the widow listens to Elijah God steps in to confirm what she heard. Here is a lesson we can learn on prophecy. When a prophet speaks a word over your life that word should encourage you, strengthen you, and increase your faith. “Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.” (Acts 15:32) In this case the prophetic word had to increase the widow’s faith, because how was she going to feed three people with ingredients for two that would leave an infinity of left overs until God ends the drought. That required much faith on the widow’s part. God had already deposited in the widow’s spirit to give her last (1 Kings 17:9). When Elijah came in need she was fearful of giving her last away, however she did not make up a bunch of excuses and she didn’t pause to think how she could get out of helping Elijah. She did what God led her to do and simply gave her last. She had to operate in a place of faith knowing based on God’s word that her blessing was in her sacrifice. If the widow obeys by faith what God says through the prophet, then God will in turn bless her in a way where she will never run out of flour and oil. What was going to be a last meal for the widow and her son now turns into provision and it is enough to feed Elijah and the widow and her son until the drought is over.
Where there is God, there is a mystery…
“She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the widow and her son. 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.” (1 Kings 17:15-16) I come from a family of bakers and I’ve seen a lot of cooking from scratch growing up. To my natural knowledge when you put flour and oil together over fire (the widow’s original ingredients and resource), then that creates roux which is used to create gravy based meals. If you go back to verse 13 Elijah asked for “a small cake of bread”. I don’t know if this literally meant a cake, a pancake, or a loaf of bread, but to make either of these you need more ingredients. Depending on your recipe you may need milk and eggs in addition to the flour and oil. When or if the widow received additional ingredients remains a mystery. That is the God we serve. We often don’t know the how he is going to do some things, but he does. When God does show up He often does so in ways we cannot explain. All we know is God did what He said He was going to do. Whew, that is shouting news right there!
We all have people that come to us in need and needs may not always mean financial resources. Needs could be your time and service. We may not have much to give what that person is asking for. We may lack the resources to provide, we may be out of energy to help, or we may be out of strength to serve others, but stop and think of what could happen in your personal life if you trusted God and sacrificed the little you had to a person in need. There is a mysterious miracle in not having enough and sharing the little you have with others.
Now I don’t know about you, but I know how hungry I am after church on Sunday. I’m starving. Every now and then I may have a snack on hand and I can’t imagine my Pastor asking me to share my little snack with the entire ten o’clock worship service. That was not the case in John chapter 6. A need came up in John chapter 6 where 5,000 people had been in worship service all day with nothing to eat. There was a little boy on hand whose mother packed his lunch so he could have lunch after worship. Jesus took the little that the boy had and fed 5,000 individuals. Can you imagine what would have happened if the boy didn’t share his food? There is a miracle in sharing your not enough!
I think about the testimony my Pastor gave this past Sunday (you’ll have to buy the CD). As a boy his mother gave her little to the neighborhood and it later came back to him in college in the form of provision. What if his mother never would have shared her not enough? There is a miracle in sharing your not enough!
I think about my current circumstances and recent chain of events where I was truly in need. I don’t ask people for much. The one I asked rejected me with their not enough excuse and it was understandable. I was disappointed but I couldn’t be mad. Not sure what happened to that person for not sharing their not enough. Maybe nothing, but had they have shared only God knows how they would have been blessed in return. The individuals I least expected and didn’t have to ask in my time of need offered to help me. I know the people who offered did so sacrificially and they too are running on not enough. I want those people to know (you know who you are) there is a blessing coming your way for sharing your not enough with me!
Giving not only meets our tangible needs but it meets those needs money can’t buy. If we go over a few more verses in 1 Kings 17 the widow faces another challenge: “Sometime later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.” (1 Kings 17:17) Sadly, the widow’s son dies, but that is not how this story ends. Elijah, the prophet that she helped with her last, the prophet she did not look down up on or talk to in a derogatory way and turn away when he asked for her last is still lodging at her home when this death occurs. God was still using the widow to provide for the prophet. Elijah being the powerful man of God that he is brings the deceased boy upstairs to the upper room and prays over him. God heard Elijah’s cry and restored life back to the boy. The little flour and oil not only fed three and created an infinity of leftovers, but it also restored a life! “The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.” (1 Kings 17:22)
I don’t know what little you have left in your life and who has approached you in need, but let this story show you never know whose need holds the key to your miraculous blessing. What do you stand in need of? What difficult situation do you face? What need is God asking you to meet with the little you have? Is it to give to your church? Is it to help a friend or family member in need? Perhaps meeting a need with the little you have could very well be the key to turning your little into much. Be God led and inspired when you do for others. When you obey God you can stand by faith that there is a miracle in sharing your not enough! Be blessed and encouraged.
Heavenly Father, thank you that where there is a need there is provision, where there is provision, there is God, and where there is God there is a mystery. Lord, we trust you today that when needs arise in our life that as we place our concerns in your hand you will provide as only you know how. There are times we may not understand or see how you are going to supply our needs, but help us to trust by faith that you will meet them. Lord, forgive us for being selfish when it comes to others in need. Place on our hearts a discerning spirit to know when you are trying to send a blessing through us to another individual in need. We know there are times we will have to say no, but for the times we are to say yes with our not enough we pray for your prompting to do so. We know that you bless those that you can send blessings through and we stand on your promises by faith that as we give it will be given back to us good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. In Jesus name. Amen
~Written by Felicia McKnight~