“So he [Elijah]went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, ‘Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?’ As she was going to get it, he called, ‘And bring me, please, a piece of bread.’ ‘As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.’ Elijah said to her, ‘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. 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 17:10-14
This is a story of obedience, faith, and provision. But first, a little backstory that you need to know. Because of his courage in telling the truth, Elijah had become a very unpopular man in Israel. So, God sent him away into the wilderness for a time of rest and testing. He took him to a place by a brook where God met his physical needs: birds brought Elijah food every day, and the brook provided him water.
After a while, however, the brook dried up because there was no rain. As you can imagine, Elijah was a little surprised and probably thought, “Okay, God, what do I do now??? I need water to survive!” (Now, remember, God doesn’t always meet our needs for tomorrow, today. He always meets our needs for tomorrow, tomorrow.) So, God told Elijah to go to a specific place where he would find food and water.
He went to a gate and found a woman gathering sticks and asked if she would get him a drink of water. She immediately went to get him some water when he added, “While you’re at it, please bring me a piece of bread…” In light of this poor woman’s situation, she could have thought, “The audacity of this guy!” But she told him she was in the process of preparing what was to be the very last meal for her and her son, after which there would be nothing left and they would die. She lived in poverty. She was a single mom. Single parenting is not a new thing. Women have been raising families alone and in poverty for centuries. But she trusted God and gave all that she had to the man of God—and God blessed her by multiplying the food in her cupboard so that she and her son would never be without. In the process, He continued to bless Elijah by meeting both his physical and material needs in order to survive.
This biblical story teaches us how much God cares for us. God cared for the prophet and this poor single mom. In the same way, He cares for all of us. Our role is to put our trust in Him and be willing to put our faith into action – to just go and “bake our bread,” so to speak. It’s choosing to do the best we can today, and leave the rest to Him. Elijah trusted God and was fed. The poor single mom trusted God through Elijah and her needs were met. The greater the need – the greater the blessing. Trust Him to meet your needs and He will.