In 1 Kings 17 Israel was going through a drought, because of the nation’s rampant idolatry. The Lord commanded the prophet Elijah to go to Zarephath where a widow would provide food for him. He obeyed the Lord and found a woman at the gate of the city gathering sticks. He called her and said “bring me a little water in a vessel that I may drink” and “bring me a morsel of bread in your hand” (verse 11-12). The widow had very little ingredients left, just enough to fix one meal for her and her family. She had no expectations to live after the meal, embracing the reality of starving to death. But Elijah tested her faith and obedience by telling her to use the ingredients to make food for him first, and then to use the left overs for her and her family. With that command, came promise: “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” (verse 14). The widow obeyed the command of Elijah and had faith in the promise of God. Her faith and obedience led to God’s promise being fulfilled in her life: “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 to Elijah” (verse 16).
The widow’s faith enabled her to willingly sacrifice and obey what the Lord had commanded through Elijah, and so, the Lord blessed her with an abundance of flour and oil, so that her and her son would not starve during the drought. Her obedience, sacrifice, and faith in God gave her life and freedom from death. She is an example of what it looks like to give to the Lord whatever He requires of our time, our earthly possessions, and our energy.
During my time here at School of Discipleship, I have been learning how to die to self. It was hard to commit my life to the Lord knowing that I would have to sacrifice the goals and plans that I had set for the next coming years. I knew that God’s will was perfect, and the promises that He has stored for my life would be well worth it, but I couldn’t give it all away without a blueprint of what my life would look like. My hands stayed closed, but slowly I began to open them by seeing the lives of the missionaries in Asia who are willing to die in order to fulfill the will of God. They opened as God began to speak to me through His word, and the widow of Zarephath is one that He had prepared to convict my heart. She obeyed God, even if it meant death because she had great faith in His promise. Because of her obedience, God rewarded her with Life. Even though I do not have a clear view of what God has for my life, my faith is greater than my fear of failure. I can give my life to the Lord knowing that the life he has planned for me is far greater than the one I was holding on to.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
—School of Discipleship student