Do you ever find it difficult to give something away? Maybe it is the last brownie or cookie that you have been saving for yourself - only to find out that somebody else has had the same idea. Maybe it is some clothes you can no longer wear but cannot quite bring yourself to get rid of. Perhaps it is your time. We all have a lot to accomplish, and we all have the same amount of time each day. It could be that you do not want to give up some of that time to someone else.
Consider the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17. She had gone out to gather a couple of sticks to prepare what she believed would be the final meal for herself and her son. While she was doing this, a stranger approached her. She did not know that this stranger was Elijah, a prophet of God, but what happened next is something she most likely never forgot.
Elijah asked her for a cup of water and a piece of bread. She told him she did not have either one. Then, Elijah told her to feed him before feeding herself and her son. Imagine her initial reaction! Most of us probably would not have blamed her if she had told him to leave her alone; but, before the widow was able to speak, the prophet told her that the Lord would keep her flour and oil supply going until the famine ended. This statement must have surprised her even more. The stranger not only wanted her to feed him first, but he also claimed that God would perform a miracle right in her own house.
Whatever the widow was thinking, she did what Elijah told her to do. She made a small cake from the remaining flour and oil and gave it to him. Then, she found that, indeed, there was more flour and oil in the jar to feed herself and her son.
What would we have done? It is safe to assume that we will never be in as dire a situation as the widow. We can be certain a prophet will not come to us and ask for a meal before we feed our families. But, in our day-to-day lives, do we willingly help those around us, or do we back away?
Think of the lesson this widow taught her son that day. He must have been quite surprised when his mother came home with a stranger and told him that the stranger would be eating some of their last food. The widow was a wonderful example to her son of the blessings we gain when we share what we have with others.
What about our giving to God? We can share our food with the church food pantry or bring in food when someone is sick or grieving, and we can donate clothes to a clothing drive. In this way, we are serving the Lord with some of the many blessings we have been given. When we teach a Bible class, our study and preparation is time we have given to God. Do we give of these things willingly or grudgingly?
Of course, we are also to give our money to the Lord. In Mark 12, we read of another widow who gave her last two mites into the temple treasury. Jesus used her as an example to his disciples, telling them that she had given more than anyone else because she gave out of her poverty, not out of abundance. We tend to think of two mites as a small offering, but she literally gave all she had. If we gave all we have, would we still consider it a small offering?
Here are two ladies with much in common. Both were widows who were poor by the world's standards, but both gave selflessly and, in doing so, were wonderful examples to those around them.
When it comes to our giving, what kind of example are we? -421 Jonathon Dayton Way, Galloway, OH 43119-8270.
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