Focal Passage: 1 Kings
This is the kind of text
that attracts derision from modern people. Birds bringing bread and meat to
A widow feeding prophets
with a little flour and oil that never runs out. A dead boy revived because a
man lies on top of him three times and offers a prayer.
Moderns look at these
incredible tales and ask, “Why can’t this be replicated today? In Haiti?”
Perhaps it would do us good
to look underneath the miracle and discover what this story might be leading us
modern Christians TO DO in our comfortable world.
Perhaps we would witness
more miracles if we followed in the footsteps of Elijah and this mystery widow
First, we might notice that
Elijah has gone into enemy territory, Sidon, the heartland of Baalism. Elijah’s
life mission is to struggle against King Ahab, his lovely bride Jezebel, and
the syncretistic tendencies of God’s people.
Trusting God from the
security of our Bible study group, local church, familiar geography, and a
supportive family leads to a benign, impotent faith.
It’s only when we step out
of our comfort zones and place ourselves in the jaws of risk that our faith can
mature and witness the power of God.
We don’t see more miracles
because we’re too busy calculating the loss of our retirement portfolio,
instead of risking opposition and danger for the sake of God’s call.
Second, notice the
adjectives of this story describing the small beginnings to a great work of
Elijah wants a “little
water.” He wants a “piece of bread.”
She doesn’t have “any
bread,” only a “handful of flour,” only a “little oil.” She is gathering a “few
She anticipates having a
“last meal” and dying of starvation with her son.
Elijah tells her to make him
a “small cake of bread.”
The miracle begins when she willingly offers her last
meal to this man of God.
Miracles often follow on the
heels of letting go of what we have.
When I was graduating from
seminary one of my fellow graduates was a Korean with a Ph.D in biology. I can
only guess what kind of salary cut he was facing.
Another graduate was a lady
with a law degree from UNC. The graduate seated next to me was the co-pastor of
a church with 3,000 members. God was calling her to start a small prayer
retreat center in the mountains of Georgia.
Here’s a thought: If God is
not in the process of asking you to give up something for the promise of something
better, either you’re not listening or God has stopped asking.