10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah. 1 Kings 17:10-16
Faith in God’s call for us is one thing, faith in someone else’s involving us in their calling can be quite another. I almost believe it’s easier to follow God’s call for ourselves than through someone else. For one reason or another, we become suspicious. I’m certain many of us have experienced someone involving us, only to end up being misled. But what of our example here?
In verse 9, God has already told a widow to care for Elijah. When Elijah gets to Zarephath, he sees a widow and asks her for water. This seems to be his method to determine if this is the widow. For the widow, maybe this helps her realize this is who God sent. What Elijah is asking for, given her circumstances, is dramatic. Elijah wouldn’t have accomplished God’s call without asking.
What a wonderful story for us! Some in our community of faith, just like the widow, could be led by the Lord to involve others, and sometimes that’s us! These calls through others can be simple, but they can also tax us in ways hard to imagine. While the widow attempted to push back on Elijah, she is promised a and given a blessing based upon her faithfulness.
When we’re asked to participate with others in their experiences with the Lord, we’re not necessarily promised a blessing as the widow was. However, there’s still a blessing to be had! We have the opportunity to experience joy with those in our community as they journey with the Lord! And, when others witness this joy, they’re learning that the Kingdom of God involves us all, giving them faith in each others’ callings.
Applying this story to ourselves can really reframe evangelism. Demonstrating trust with others in the pursuit of our call, even if it costs them something, can expand the Kingdom of God in ways we can’t fathom today. Others can experience freedom by seeing you take this important step. This might be the one thing that will cause others to do the same with their own call. Today, consider what you believe your call to be, and how God might be asking you to move in this way, and then do it!
By Rich Obrecht