“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.” (1 Kings 17:12)
By the time Elijah had come to this widow he had trusted the Lord to feed him by ravens and experienced their twice daily provision for some time. When the Brook Cherith dried up the Lord sent him to this destitute widow. Her state is adequately described in the verse above.
Instead of Elijah providing for the widow and her son he asked her to prepare her last food and give it to him. Humanly speaking we would ask, “Who in their right mind would do such a thing?” Common sense says don’t give away the last of your food. However, the widow was moved to a measure of faith in Elijah when he told her she could make some more for herself afterward. From where would this man produce more flour and oil?
The woman gave all that she had based solely on the word of Elijah. The result was that she saw the hand of the Lord provide for all three of them for a lengthy time. Then she knew that the God of Elijah was truly the God of all creation and she then put her faith in Him. (v 24).
We do not place our faith in a man but in One infinitely greater. Jesus Christ is the bread of life but do we really believe it?
Our actions with material things, including money, demonstrate our faith in Jesus Christ. If we are stingy it shows that we think He is stingy; if we are generous it shows we believe He is generous. If we give it all into His hands it shows that we understand He gave all for us and will not leave us forsaken.
Another widow hundreds of years later also gave all that she had (Luke 21:1-4). In contrast to the amounts the more wealthy people gave it was very little, even insignificant, yet Jesus says she gave more than all.
This should be a clue to us that Jesus is not impressed with amounts we give but rather the faith in the heart of the one giving. What we do with money and material things is evidence of where our heart is. As Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).
It is not for us to measure others because we do not know what is in their heart and rarely what they actually give to the Lord. Only the Lord knows that. It is always time for a stock take on your treasure. Is it in heaven (Jesus Christ) or on earth (material things)? One is eternal and the other destined to be destroyed.
Emulate the faith of these widows who trusted Him for their daily bread.