I've been thinking about the widow woman—the woman who lost her husband and was left to raise her son alone—the same woman who through the hardship of famine was down to her last bit of grain and oil to make her last cake—the woman who thought she would feed herself and her son and then die.
Imagine how she felt when the prophet finally showed up. God had already told her he was coming and that she was supposed to feed him. But it took what seemed like forever for him to arrive, and now she barely had enough to feed herself and her son. How was she going to feed the prophet with so much lack?
Her despair must have gripped her deeply in that moment. She told the prophet she had little left to give, but he asked for it anyway. How could he ask this of her? Did he not understand how poor and destitute she had become? Did he not care what it would cost her if she gave him the last of what she had? It would cost her everything!
She hesitated. But, then, she turned, went into her house, took the grain and oil that was left, made the cake, and gave it to the prophet. And he took it and ate it.
He asked, took, and ate because God had told him to do so. And she answered, gave, and fed because God had told her to do so. But it wasn't about his need or her lack—it was about obedience to God's purpose.They both submitted to their part in the purpose, and they both were sustained.
It seems I've been on the receiving end many times like the prophet over the past several years. And some who have given have done so from their lack just like the widow woman. But I suddenly feel like I'm the widow woman—like God is asking me to give from where I lack—from my lack of purpose, my lack of desire, my lack of gifting, my lack of strength, my lack of energy, my lack of means... And I admit I've said in response, "But I'm down to the last that I have; it's not even enough to make a difference. And if I give from the little I have, I'll be left empty handed. Why are you asking this of me now?"
But it's not about the need to which I'm being asked to give, and it's not about my lack of enough to give. It's about me submitting to my part in God's purpose. As long as I do the part He's asked of me, He will give me the necessary sustenance to keep giving until His purpose is complete.