But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land. Then the LORD said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.” (1Ki 17:7-9)
Stanley: Was there a path to Zarephath?
Mr. Mathisen: Oh Stanley, of course there was, but it was also a mighty long walk.
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. (1Ki 17:10-13)
Stanley: Wait a second! Was he asking her to use the last of the food that she had to feed him first? That’s not very nice.
Mr. Mathisen: Hang on Stanley, wait until you see what comes next.
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!” (1Ki 17:14)
Stanley: Whoa! What does that mean? I thought that she said that she only had enough left for a little bit of bread.
Mr. Mathisen: Yes, Stanley, that is true. But, when we give or share the way that God wants us to, then the bit that we have left goes longer. It’s always better to obey God and give. You see God wants us to be generous and be willing to share what we have whether we have a little or a lot. In fact, I think that your memory verse for today is I Timothy 6:18. It says, “Do good…be generous and be willing to share”. Let’s go back to the story because God did even more for that widow and her son than keep them fed.
So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son 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.
Sometime later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died.
Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”
But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed.
Then Elijah cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, why have You brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”
And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, please let this child’s life return to him.”
The LORD heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived!
Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”
Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the LORD truly speaks through you.” (1Ki 17:15-24)
Stanley: Wow, you were right. Healing her son and bringing him back to life was a lot more than keeping them fed. I guess that being generous when God asks us to is more important than I thought.
Mr. Mathisen: Yes, Stanley, always remember that God is our provider. He will take care of us so that we can always be generous and share what we have whether it’s a little or a lot.
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Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.