1 Kings 17:9-16 NLT
“Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.” So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.” But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.” But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!” So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.”
*The widow was instructed by God to feed Elijah. (An assignment was given to the giver)
*Elijah was instructed by God to go and live in the village of Zarephath. (Orders were given to the receiver)
*A prophetic word was spoken to the widow (the giver) to be a foundation for her giving (a motivation/catalyst) and additional provisions were made because both her and Elijah were obedient to God’s instructions.
What did it cost the widow to give?
A handful of flour left in a jar
A little bit of cooking oil in the bottom of a jug
Sticks & Water
What can we take from this?
When God gives you instructions to fulfill an assignment, he will make sure that you have everything you need to complete it, even when it doesn’t look like much. The most important thing we have to do is make ourselves available to be used by him.
There is something so beautiful about this particular story. A woman was in a position to die. She didn’t have enough food for her and her son but was asked by Elijah to give beyond her natural capacity. She had limited resources to offer but what she had was enough.
How many times have you found yourself struggling with the circumstances found within your own life? You were broken, frustrated and wounded by the situation in which you were facing. Yet, God still desired you to pour out into others, in spite of.
At least within this story, the widow had a guarantee of receiving more provisions from the Lord, (Elijah promised that she and her son would always have enough flour and olive oil left in their containers)…. That prophetic word gave her peace of mind. Yet, within our lives, we often lack the motivation to help others, especially when the condition seems to be taxing. We highlight our lack more than the word that God has spoken and we pass up the opportunity to give to someone else.
Does God only ask the rich to give? No!
Does God want to cripple the poor by asking them to give more than what they can afford? No!
Does God ask all of us to give in one way or another? Yes!
God’s word, be it prophetic or scripturally based, is there to provide a firm foundation for all activities done under heaven and within the earth. It reminds us of God’s sovereignty and His ability to provide for all of his creations.
Scriptures such as…
2 Corinthians 9:8 AMP “And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity”
Luke 12:24 NASB “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!”
Psalm 34:10 AMP “The young lions may lack [food] and grow hungry, But they who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.”
Matthew 6:31-32 NLT “So do not worry these things saying, “What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”
God is very much aware of our position. He knows exactly what we have, and if he’s asking us to give, then he’s saying that we already possess what is required to be given.
Giving our TIME, ENERGY and RESOURCES into the assignments of God is rewarding, not only to the receiver but also to the giver. As we see in the story of Elijah and the widow, they both fell into ALIGNMENT with what God was asking them to do and was BLESSED because of it.
You see the enemy wants to BIND our ability to give, by drawing attention to our lack. Really, if he can focus our attention on what we don’t have, then we won’t see all the things that are within our ability to give.
What he attempts to do is stifle the seed (the spoken word) that was deposited into our spirits so that God’s provisions can’t reach his people. And, if God can’t reach them, then they will start to question his ability to fulfill His word.
Unfortunately, we get into a “Me, Myself and I” frame of mind very quickly, which causes us not to care about what others need.
We start to withdraw our hand even in the most minute things.
However, the Lord would not have this to be so…
I remember a couple of years ago, my husband and I were going grocery shopping and we came across a family that was in need. They were sitting outside of BJ’s with a sign asking for food. We didn’t have much but God stirred the desire within our hearts to buy them groceries. There was no question that it was him, so we did. We got a cart and filled it up with items that they needed for their family. We tried to think of as many things as possible from feminine products to after school snacks for their children. Believe me, we could’ve used that money for many other things but when the Holy Spirit spoke, we couldn’t just sit back and ignore him. We had to align ourselves with what was being asked of us and meet their needs.
We prayed with them afterward and that was that.
You see giving may not be CONVENIENT but it can be LIFE-CHANGING.
No matter what, we will always be presented with logical reasons as to why we can’t give. Just like we’ll have times when we will try to talk ourselves out of being obedient to God’s request …but we have to understand one basic foundation- that there is always great purpose in EVERYTHING GOD INSTRUCTS US TO DO.
Mark 12:41-44 (NIV) The Widow’s Offering
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Giving out of your abundance is one thing but giving out of your lack is an entirely different ball game.
This story doesn’t say what happened after this widow put her last into the temple treasury. It doesn’t say whether or not she was blessed by God with increased riches or if she struggled in her poverty for the rest of her life. However, what it does tell us is that Jesus was amazed at her heart. She didn’t have much but her actions caught his attention.
I believe that when the Lord sees us give in a season of lack, that we hold a special place in his heart. That he sees our sacrifice and he honors it.
He understands how difficult it is for us to put other’s needs before our own but still asks us to COVER, SUPPORT, AID, and SUPPLY. Because when we do, we bring LOVE, HOPE, and ENCOURAGEMENT to others.
When we serve, something special happens- someone’s silent prayer for relief and provision is being answered through us by God!
I remember a time where I lacked money. I couldn’t buy any new clothes. I was stuck re-wearing the same things over and over again. I wanted what I couldn’t afford, and I remember crying because I felt forgotten. I felt alone in what I was experiencing. I remember praying to God and wishing that I had new clothes.
I wasn’t mad. I didn’t vent. I didn’t throw a tantrum but I humbly asked Him to provide and not even five minutes later, a friend called me and said that she felt led in her spirit to take me shopping- and she did that very day.
Even as I write this I’m tearing up because I had a need that no one knew about but God knew and He saw and He placed in someone’s heart to meet my need.
For some of you, your experience might be similar to the poor widow….you may have met the needs of others, when your needs have gone unnoticed.
What I can say to you is…..Keep Giving.
You might have to cry before you give. You might have to worship before you give. You might have to fast and pray and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit before you give, but understand that nothing that God causes you to do is done in vain. God is faithful and HE WILL give you what you need. It may take time but don’t get discouraged.
An answered prayer is still an ANSWERED PRAYER no matter how long it takes.
2 Corinthians 8:12-14 NLT
“Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.”
I thank God for the story of the two widows and my friend because they demonstrate that sometimes we will be the giver of a blessing and other times we will be the receiver. As we see in 2 Corinthians, the role is interchangeable depending upon the season in your life. Either way, God allows us to use what is in our hands to help others. He makes it enough even when we can’t see it.
What he needs us to do is reposition our hearts to respond to him faithfully.
He needs us to trust his instructions even when we don’t understand them.
Giving out of your lack can be uncomfortable if you believe that God will never replace or replenish what has been given, but if you can allow yourself to believe that God will bring that blessing full circle, then giving will become that much easier to do.
Ask God to continue to equip you with a heart to give even when it seems impossible.
Let Him lead you in your giving no matter what season you’re in!
Hebrews 13:21 NLT
“May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever Amen.”
To read previous posts related to this topic see links below!!