Some friends of mine got together to help a widow. We performed some long overdue maintenance and repairs on her home.
We built a new bonus room in the garage and busted up the concrete of a sinking sidewalk. We cut through thick brush and ground cover that had taken over the yard outside. We cleaned ceiling fans and floors and toilets and sinks inside. We painted and pressure-washed.
We basically flipped the house and it took all day. The widow just walked around crying, hugging, smiling, thanking everyone again and again, and posting pictures of us on her Facebook feed. It truly changed her life. We were all blessed.
Now, what if we showed up at this widow’s house and instead of giving, instead of contributing, we took, we consumed?
What if we raided the fridge and cupboards, drank all the beer, chowed down all the tortilla chips and queso, lit up the BBQ and feasted on all the frozen chicken and made burgers with the ground beef? What if we slammed all the soda, made a mess on the back patio and tossed trash all over the yard and then left for the day?
Would you believe something like that happened in the Bible? Would you believe that God did something like that to a poor widow?
God sent his prophet, Elijah, to a famine stricken, drought threatened place. He met a widow, asked her for water, and then said, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread” (1 Kings 17:11). She begged him, “But I only have enough for one last meal for me and my son. We plan to eat it and then starve. There is nothing more.”
As if he didn’t hear what she said, God’s prophet replied, “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” (1 Kings 17:13).
First. God wants to be first. No matter who you are. No matter how much you have or do not have. Whether you’re partying on a yacht with a feast, or you’re planning your last meal before you die.
That’s not cruel. That’s God calling you, calling this widow, to faith in true riches.
Elijah continued with some life-changing news, “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’” (1 Kings 17:14).
God wants to be first in your fantasy football, first in your son’s sports schedule, first in your daughter’s disappointment with how she looks, first in your mealtime prayers, first in your dating life, first in your marriage, first in your home and your health, first in what you think of others who disagree with you, first in your commitment to church. For two reasons.
God put you first. Ahead of his own Son, who suffered for your sins in your place. Also, when God is first in your world, everything else falls into place.
It did for this widow. She gave away her last meal, which was only the beginning of her unending supply of flour and oil. And everything will fall into place for you, too, when you put God first.
PRAYER: Dear generous God, you know what is best for me and for this world. You call for my loyalty and love, even as you are eternally loyal and unconditionally loving to me. Give me faith to put you first. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read 1 Kings 17:17-24. Another event tested this widow’s faith, and God showed her just how much he can do.