I love the gems hidden in the Bible. We learn all about David and Goliath, Noah, Abraham, Mary and Joseph, and many others as we grow up, but rarely do we hear about a widow with a son in the little-known town of Zarephath (pronounced Zarra-fath).
God uses the most unlikely people in the most unlikely places to do the most unlikely things.… Click To Tweet
This is how you know it is a “God thing.”
Elijah, a prophet in the Old Testament, had told King Ahab there would not be any rain or dew for a few years until he gave the word for it to rain again. Could you imagine delivering this news to a pagan king? I don’t think I would want to stay for long afterwards. He may decide to have me for dinner, or make me dinner for his pet lion.
God directed Elijah to go hide in the east by Kerith Brook near the Jordan River. (1 Kings 17:1-5) The ravens fed him, and he had water from the brook. However, after a while the brook dried up. God gave him some interesting instructions “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
Now, if you were living during this time, you would find these instructions strange. Ravens were considered unclean birds, and Zarephath was foreign territory where the wicked Queen Jezebel, who happened to be King Ahab’s wife, came from. Elijah, God’s prophet, was taken care of by unclean birds, and then by a widow in a foreign land.
Our amazing God in His infinite wisdom chose some unlikely animals and people to take care of His prophet in an unlikely place during the most unlikely time you could dream of.
Elijah arrived Zarephath and met the widow. However, the widow was having a bad day. She thought it would be the last for her and her son.
“‘Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?’ As she was walking to get it, he called to her, ‘Bring me a bite of bread too.’” (1 Kings 17:10-11) She probably stopped in her tracks. “…I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.” (1 Kings 17:12) The widow of Zarephath was willing to give Elijah water, but she was not going to deny her son his last meal.
Elijah responded, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you have said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and crops to grow again!” (1 Kings 17:13-14)
Could you imagine the relief this woman felt as Elijah’s words sunk into her heart? I don’t have to worry if we will have enough food through this drought. My baby (actually a boy, but you know they are always our babies) is not going to starve to death. I can help someone else and still survive. Her thoughts were probably racing, wondering if she heard him correctly. The God of Israel was going to save her and her son?
You Have A Purpose
The God of Israel has created each of us to be used by Him daily. We can be a light to others if we are five, seventy-five, or even ninety-five. Our American culture has taught us the retirement years are for enjoying life and spoiling ourselves. There is nothing wrong with enjoying life, but God has so much more for us. Yet there is no retirement plan for Christians.
My parents are a living example of this. They are enjoying their retirement years being an active part of the Gideons, a ministry to reach the world with the gospel through their Bible programs and more. They teach AWANNA to little ones on Wednesday nights. My parents have always enjoyed working with children. They love being grandparents, and have helped to care for all of their grandchildren at different times. They have helped their children in many different ways too.
My in-laws have spent their retirement years caring for my mother-in-law’s mother, two of her childless aunts, and now their second grandchild. All of the elderly women they cared for have gone to meet Jesus, but they spent many years traveling around Georgia and to Florida to care for these three ladies. They helped all of them to move multiple times, took them to doctor appointments, sat with them in hospitals, and so much more. They serve in their church in many different ways.
More Than One Way To Serve
There is not just one way to serve God. You can be a light using the gifts you have. When you seek God daily He will show you ways you can serve Him. As your love grows for Him, it will simply flow from your heart. You will not be able to stop yourself.
I still remember my husband’s sweet grandmother (his mom’s mother, whom I mentioned earlier). She had always been a giver. One of her favorite ways to show love to her family was big family meals during the holidays. As her health declined, she felt bad for not being able to help. You know what? Her very presence was precious to be around. Even though she was in an immense amount of pain from severe back problems you never once heard her complain.
You knew you were going to get lots of hugs when you were around her. We loved to hear her stories about her life. Family was always very important to her. As she became too feeble to stay at my in-laws for the holidays, we missed her presence on those days.
You see, being a loving part of your family is a part of serving God. If you are not able to take care of others anymore, you can still be a light by loving on those who care for you. My child will never forget his sweet great-grandmother who loved on him.
God uses the most unlikely people in the most unlikely places. When you stay close to Him, He will open up doors for you to be a light and love to others. I prayed for God to bring people in my life for me to share the gospel with, and to help me get out of my Christian bubble. God sent multiple people into my life after I started praying this prayer. Mentoring younger women in your life, formal or informally, is another way to continue to be used by God at any age.
This month on Ask God Today we are celebrating women who still have so much to give. God wants to use all of us, no matter our age or stage in life, no matter how healthy or feeble. God can use you right where you are! Be open to His calling on your life.
What unlikely person or unlikely situation has helped you?
Share your answer in the comments.
Ask God Today Ministries has decided to make a difference in as many seniors’ lives as possible. We will be collecting items that elderly persons may need in “Senior Bags of Love,” which we will be distributing in the inner city of Spartanburg County in December to selected number of people in need, and we could use your help.
Here’s what we’re looking for to get started:
Shoes of all sizes
You can mail items to:
C/O ASK GOD TODAY MINISTRIES
P.O. Box 161625,
Boiling Springs, SC 29316