Summary: With the looming economic meltdown, persons are tempted to not be faithful in their stewardship. This sermon is an encouragement to be involved despite the hard times now being faced.
Stewardship: Doing In Times Of Little
Since 2004, we have always set aside February as stewardship month, in which we talk about the use of our spiritual gifts, the use of our time and the use of our resources. Last week I started the stewardship series, by looking at Stewardship: Giving In Times Of Little. Today, I would like to share with you on Stewardship: Doing In Times Of Little.
In the scripture passage read earlier we see the biblical account of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. In this biblical narrative, the context is set in a time of drought and famine in the land. There was not much to go around, especially if you were poverty stricken like this poor widow.
It was a time of great hardship and difficulty for the man of God and the widow. It was a time in which many persons who were generous in their time, money or good deeds would start to think twice. It was a time when the natural response to the hardship would be self withdrawal.
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 of self preservation by withdrawal. We begin to refrain from giving, which we talked about last week, and also we refrain from doing anything.
Whenever we refrain from doing anything we render our spiritual giftedness useless and we miss out on the opportunity to touch lives for Christ. The word of God tells us that we are created for ministry, as such there is always an opportunity to do something anything for Christ. Listen to what the word of God says…
"For we are God’ s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph. 2:10 NIV)
We are required to be doing, and not withdrawing even in times of little. As such, there are three very important lessons we can learn from Elijah and the widow of Zarephath about doing in times of little.
From the text we learn that in times of little…
1. God Still Wants Us To Go
The bible tells us that the word to Elijah from God was…
"Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." (1Kings 17:9 NIV)
In these crucial times or times of little, many persons will tell you and in some cases many of you will be tempted not to do anything or to refrain from doing anything. As I have said before, it would seem that this is the natural recourse to take; TO WITHDRAW FOR PRESERVATION PURPOSES. However, God’s stewardship teachings indicate that in times of little that’s when are required to GO.
More than ever, you are to GO, because some people may believe that all that is left is to die. The first step in our doing anything in times of little is that we must get up and GO, and Elijah did just that.
The reasons why we are to go is so that…
a) You Can Be Used By God
The Lord told Elijah to go because a woman was instructed to provide food for him. However, what Elijah did not know was how God would be using him to transform the woman’s life.
When Elijah met the woman, she was not only a widow, but a poor widow and a widow that is about to eat her last and die, along with her son. Immediately, upon seeing the woman, the bible tells us that God gave him word for her; a word that declares…
“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 gives rain on the land” (1Kings 17:14-15 NIV)
We can never know how God will use us in whatever circumstances he bids us to go. We will never know what people are going through and how God can use us to help them if we are not willing to go. As such, in times of little we must always be willing to do and not withdraw.
b) You Can Be A Blessing By God
I am sure that probably all Elijah thought about was his belly, as it was evidenced that when he came upon the woman his conversation surrounds satisfying his hunger. The text states that…
So he 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." (1Kings 17:10-11 NIV)