Summary: The widow of Zarephath received a lifetime of grace from God, as offered to her by the prophet Elijah.

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The Offer of a Lifetime

I Kings 17:8-16

June 10, 2007

There was this fellow who was downtown to do some business. He was only in the building for a few minutes. When he came out he saw a police officer writing a parking ticket. He approached the officer and said, “Come on, how about giving a person a break?” The officer ignored the man and continued to write the ticket, at which point the guy called him a Nazi.

The police officer glared at the man and wrote him another ticket for having worn tires. Then he was called a doughnut eating Gestapo. The officer finished the second ticket and proceeded to write another one.

This went on for about twenty minutes or so. The more the officer was abused, the more tickets he wrote. Finally the officer was starting to get writers cramp, so he walked away. Another fellow who was standing by watching all of this happen approached the first fellow and asked him why he abused the officer so badly because now there were a mass of parking tickets on the windshield. He said, “Personally, I don’t care. I came downtown on a bus and the car he was putting the tickets on had a bumper sticker that said, ‘Hillary in ’08.’” (If you are a Democrat, you can substitute Rudy Giuliani. The punch line is the same).

We usually think that more is better. But not in all cases.

Every once in a while, Toni and I fantasize what we would do if we won the lottery. Now, to be up front with you, we don’t play the lottery, and as I understand it, you have to play to win – even though your chances of winning are less than your chances of being hit by lightening. In fact, we believe that gambling in all its forms is inconsistent with the Christian gospel, is dangerous for the community, and an unjust form of taxation on the poor - the people who can least afford it. That is why we so oppose the expansion of gambling in the state of Indiana. That is why we are disappointed in the governor who recently signed a bill allowing slot machines to be placed in race tracks, which we believe shouldn’t be there in the first place.

We always joke that if we would win the lottery, we would have to win a lot, because we would have to leave the church. Our bishop would not be too happy with us. We couldn’t win just a few thousand dollars; we would need to win big so that we could support ourselves because we wouldn’t have a job anymore. And, in our way of thinking, it just isn’t worth taking the chance.

There are some things, however, that I wouldn’t mind winning. I wouldn’t mind being Tasha Callister of Jacksonville, Florida who won the Ben and Jerry’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest. According to an October 6, 2006 press release by the ice cream company, Ms. Callister was selected by 40,000 entrants for the best idea for a new ice cream flavor. Her’s was called “Puttin’ On the Ritz” and is a blend of Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel and Ritz Cracker Swirl with Chunks of Chocolate. She won an all expense paid trip to the ice cream factory in Vermont, as well as – and here is the good part – a year’s worth of free Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.

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