This is a simple thank you from the Oldings to say thanks for sharing! We pray you have an amazing festive season. This is a devotion that I believe God has stirred in my heart as we give thanks and look back and forward to this new chapter in South Africa.
The word share is found in so many portions of scripture, that deal with sharing, it really is an amazing study, but the word share is really what the message of the Gospel is, and we are required to share every aspect of our lives. I will be looking at the widow from Zarephath and her example of sharing and tie this into a devotion.
A quick story from this past Friday
Over the last few weeks we have been putting little packages together for the children in Masinenge. Each child received a gift bag that consisted of a toy, an assortment of sweeties and a clothing item.
Once all the gift bags were handed out a little boy who was about 4 years old came to Chantel and asked her to open up his packet of skittles that he had received. This little boy then went on to reach into his newly opened bag of sweets and pull a big handful out to give to Chantel.
This humbled Chantel to the core as it was once again a reminder of the widow at Zarephath. Just like the widow, this little boy who had little to nothing but yet gave of his most valued possession (skittles) to bless someone else. There is so much to learn from those experiences and I know that my wife’s heart was touched.
1 Kings 17:7-16 (NLT)
7 But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.
The Widow at Zarephath
8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
10 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?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
12 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.”
13 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. 14 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!”
15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
When it comes to sharing I see 2 crucial elements of faith from this message.
1. Sacrificial Sharing
The widow gave all she had, literally, she was preparing her last meal for her and her son before eventual death. She was then challenged by Elijah. It seems that widows in scripture know how to give! Imagine the next big leadership conference taking a page from the widows of scripture, I think of the widow mentioned in – Mark 12:43-44
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
Jesus requires us to give of ourselves, this has challenged me, as I look back and say Lord how can I improve in this area as we move forward?
The widow gave everything in faith, and she was saved. What is God calling us to do, in terms of sharing sacrificially? Our time, our sin, our motivation, our wants and needs. My challenge was simply to ask Christ, “Lord what do I need to share sacrificially for the cause of the kingdom?”
2.God’s Delight in Obedience
The Bible has much to say about obedience. In fact, obedience is an essential part of the Christian faith. Jesus Himself was “obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). For Christians, the act of taking up our cross and following Christ (Matthew 16:24) means obedience. The Bible says that we show our love for Jesus by obeying Him in all things: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15)
This request must have seemed like absolute insanity to the woman, there was a severe famine in the land and she was preparing her last meal, she then gets a request that defies logic, but as she listened she ultimately was obedient to what Elijah had requested. Elijah had tested her, this is a picture of sacrificial giving to God. Seek his approval and seek His kingdom Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
22 But Samuel replied,
“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to His voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
John Piper says this:
And finally God’s delight in obedience is good news because the obedience He loves is the obedience of faith. And faith means banking our hope on the mercy of God. And mercy means that our obedience does not have to be perfect; it only has to be penitent. “If you confess your sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).