My dad always had a soft spot in his
heart for the elderly and the widowed. He used to say to me: “One day we will
all grow old and hope for care and the companionship of others.” When he was
assigned to work with several congregations, it wasn’t long before he had set
up weekly bible studies and arranged groups to look after and pray with the
elderly and widowed. My Dad did this for a number of years and became known as
the “widow’s elder” because of his compassion and tender heart. It was
something he enjoyed doing and he loved to share stories about them and their
There is a story in 1st Kings about a
widow that often reminds me of the stories my dad used to share. In this scripture,
we find God sending Elijah to the city of Zaraphath and telling him, “Behold, I have commanded a widow to feed
you.” When Elijah arrives he finds the widow collecting firewood and he
asks her to bring him some water and bread.
She responded, “As surely as the Lord your God lives, 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” (1 Kings 17:12).
This widow had given up. We don’t know
all the details that might have brought her to such a distressed point, but God
had other plans for her.
Elijah told her to not be afraid, but
to go ahead and make him some bread, and then to make something for her and her
son. He said, “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” (1
The story is about her response to God’s
invitation to be an active participant in his work, and her example of faith is
a testimony to us all.
No matter who you are, or where you’re at,
we’ve all been invited to participate in God’s ongoing work of sharing his good
news to others, to let them know they are loved and they are included in his
plan. Just like the widow, we often cannot see how God is going to work things
out, but we should know that he will always be trustworthy and faithful.
Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.