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Faith Expressed through Generosity

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Sermon shared by James Parker

October 2011
Summary: Today we are going to read about a woman whose faith is expressed through generosity. It is found for us in 1 Kings Chapter 17. In chapter 17, Elijah has just declared that no rain will fall in Israel for a period of years. We read how the Lord provides f
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
Last week we began looking at some men and women of the Old Testament. We began this with a man by the name of Noah. He was commended for his faith in Hebrews 11, and we saw that because of his faith, he was obedient. He was obedient in his submission, and in his service. These were an expression of his great faith. He submitted himself to God’s plan even though he probably had no idea what an ark was. He committed himself to the service of the Lord because God told him he was going to destroy the earth. Noah believed what God said and served accordingly. Both submission and service were acts of faith. Today we are going to read about a woman whose faith is expressed through generosity. It is found for us in 1 Kings Chapter 17. In chapter 17, Elijah has just declared that no rain will fall in Israel for a period of years. We read how the Lord provides for Elijah by the banks of the brook Cherith. This is when the ravens bring him food and he drinks from the brook. After a period of time the brook dries up and God sends Elijah to Zarephath, there God has commanded a widow to care for him. Let’s read our text for this morning, it’s 1 Kings 17:8-16….
“8And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, 9Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 10So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 12And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. 15And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah. “
The first thing I want us to notice here is that the Lord prepared an opportunity for the widow to be generous.
1. Opportunity
That’s right, I said an opportunity! She had an opportunity to be generous. Sometimes we feel like generosity is an obligation, but in reality it is an opportunity to give back to the Lord. God chose this specific widow for the task. If she didn’t accept the opportunity, do you think Elijah would have gone hungry? No, God would have offered the opportunity to someone else. How many times do we pass up an opportunity that God has given us to be generous? By giving up our chance, we don’t stop God’s will from being done, but we give up an opportunity not just to be generous, but to receive a blessing! Because of her generosity, her and her son had plenty
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