Summary: With the looming economic meltdown, persons are tempted to not be faithful in their stewardship. This sermon is an encouragement to still be available for service despite the hard times now being faced.
Stewardship: Available In Times Of Little
Today is the final in our stewardship series for the month of February. Over the last two weeks we looked at Stewardship: Giving In Times Of Little and Stewardship: Doing In Times Of Little. Today, I would like to share with you on Stewardship: Available In Times Of Little.
As we have been saying over the last few weeks the biblical account of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath is set in a time of drought and famine in the land of Israel. As such, it was a time of very little or as we say today a time of economic crisis: a crisis of finding the basic necessities of life
It was a time in which many persons who were generous in their money or good deeds would start to think twice. It was a time when the natural response to the hardship would be to not give and to withdraw from doing good. Also, it was a time in which no one would seem to have the time for anyone but themselves; a time in which no one would be available to do anything for anyone, because everyone was concerned about their physical well-being or their survival in times of little.
This is much the same for us today, because as we are faced with the reality of an economic crisis, locally and internationally, our natural instinct is that we do not have time for anyone. Further, with the false view that time is money no one wants to consider that they are throwing away money by wasting their time on someone else. As such, the likely outcome of these circumstances we are facing is that people become unavailable and scarce.
As we face these times of little we must be careful that we do not become self absorb, to the exclusion of everyone and everything around us. Consequently, rather than becoming unavailable in times of little, the word of the Lord to us is this…
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25 NIV)
In times of little, we are required to be available, and not unavailable. As such, there are three very important lessons we can learn from Elijah and the widow of Zarephath about being available in times of little.
In times of little God wants us…
1. To Still Be Available For Him
As we watch the biblical account of Elijah from the start of the scripture passage you will immediately realize that Elijah was not disconnected from God. The passage shows the connection between and God by declaring…
“Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan” (1Kings 17:2-3 NIV)
Not only on this occasion do we see Elijah being available to be used by God, but later on when God wanted to do something in the life of the widow, God called on Elijah to go to Zarephath. Listen to what the scriptures states…
“Then the word of the LORD came to him: "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." (1Kings 17:8-9 NIV)
Whether in times of little or in times of plenty God is always looking for someone who will make time for him, so that they can be used by Him. This is very important for us to understand, because when you make time for God…
a) God Refreshes You
The text tells us that while Elijah was in the ravine under God’s direction, God fed and replenished his energy every day. Listen to the text…
“So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook” (1Kings 17:5-6 NIV)
The Lord did not only refresh Elijah in the ravine, He did it also at Zarephath when he sent him there and prepared the widow there to provide food. Whenever we make time for God He refreshes our soul.
When the Israelites were being encouraged by God about being brought back from captivity, God’s word to them was that he would refresh them.
“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." (Jeremiah 31:25 NIV)
Truth being told is that we all need the refreshing of God during times of little, because when God refreshes us we are able to recover and collect our strength. Not only that, we will not die, even if it is time of little. It is no wonder the bible tells us that…