Scripture: 1 Kings 17:8-16
Key verse: (14) For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.”
Reflection: In our text for today, we meet the prophet Elijah. This is the first encounter with Elijah in the text and he goes on to be an important prophet in the story of God’s people. God instructs Elijah to enter into the house of the widow, Zarephath, who would provide food and shelter for him. Upon first meeting, Elijah asks Zarephath to bring him food and water. Zarephath boldly responds that she doesn’t have enough. Zarephath, out of fear of not being able to provide for her child, is only about to see the scarcity that surrounds her. She only has a small jar of meal and a few drops of oil in a jug. Elijah, a man with divine favor, sees the abundance that God provides. He responds the meal will not be emptied and the oil will not fail. How can this be true?
I love this story. Elijah has such faith in God that he trusts in the ways that God will provide and Zarephath finds it in her heart to also have faith but not before asking the hard questions. She doesn’t have blind faith but is willing to engage with Elijah enough to have her perspective transformed.
This story also has things to teach us about what God’s providence might look like. Elijah tells Zarephath that as long as there is no rain they will not go hungry. He doesn’t promise that the jar and jug will be full but rather that they won’t be empty. God’s abundance isn’t about a plethora of things but about enough to go around, sustenance through daily bread.
I wonder what we miss when we are unwilling to ask questions, to go deeper, to have our eyes transformed to the ways of God. How can we trust in the Elijah’s we encounter when we think we have scarcity but instead are full of abundance? May our eyes be transformed that we might join with God’s vision of abundance in the midst of a world that focuses on scarcity.
Prayer: God of abundance, you continue to provide for us with daily bread and yet, we are unable and unwilling to see your gifts through a spirit of generosity. Transform our eyes, our hearts and our minds to join with your Spirit of overflowing love. Amen.
Author: Savannah Demuynck
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].