God Never Runs Out
1 Kings 17:8-16
Some of us worry about how much longer we have, especially when things are beginning to look bleak. In these situations, all of us ask ourselves, “how long do I have before I die, how long can I live until I run out of money…”
As those fears increase, some people can become competitive about it. They feel like it makes them a loser or that they lived life wrong. So they make unhealthy decisions in an effort to avoid “losing” at all costs, making it nearly impossible to trust God to take care of them.
Many in the Bible have also felt that way too. Moses – When he fled from Pharaoh after killing an Egyptian. Jonah – When he found himself in the belly of the whale. The Disciples – When they found themselves in the storm.
This passage centers on the nation’s economic collapse as the result of a severe drought that ruins crops and decimates the population and focuses on the experience of a widow and her young son.
A bit of background about how God was building Elijah’s faith step by step through each experience.
1 Kings 17:8-16 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.” So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 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. 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.’” She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 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.
For her, the famine was the only thing left to face and she was focused on the last meal she would have before she lied down to die of hunger.
And for Elijah’s part, it’s remarkable that he didn’t throw up his hands and say, “I don’t believe this! You mean this impoverished widow waiting to die of hunger is my supply for food?
Could the widow’s experience ever become our experience? On the negative side, I can come up with a long list of reasons why God would not help me. And on the positive side, I have learned that God will always provide for me.
1. The events of life are tools and agents of the Almighty. Even our everyday mundane, insignificant or terrible things are not without importance. God redeems it all.
2. In the midst of an economic meltdown, As Jesus followers, even in our pain we are to think of others and how God may want to use us. Remember how Jesus on the cross was concerned about his mother.
3. Serving God from an empty barrel does more to fill my barrel than trying to fill it myself. If I forget about what I think I need and leave my care in the capable hands of God, He will take care of me and everyone. This is what worship is about too.
1. Life isn’t a race you win or lose. It’s a team sport where you win or lose depending on who’s on your team. When you worry, that is your cue to surrender it into God’s care.
Example of building the church in Maine.
If you feel like the widow, you are about to meet Elijah. The widow made a costly sacrifice that proved she put her faith in God. What sacrifice is God asking you to make? 2. It’s not faith until a sacrifice is made.
3. God doesn’t need a lot to work with. In creation, God took nothing and made everything. All He is looking for from us is the faith to make a sacrifice. When we do, big things happen.