In both the Old and New Testament readings for today, we meet women who were in desperate situations! Both of these women were widows with no apparent means to support themselves or those who might depend upon them. In those days, there were no “social welfare safety-nets,” no “survivor benefits,” no “Aid to Dependent Children” from which they might seek assistance or on which they might hope to rely. They were completely “on their own” – or at least it appeared that way!
In the first reading (1 Kings 17), Elijah carried a word of judgment to the wickedest king of Israel, Ahab, after which the prophet fled to Kerith Ravine where he was miraculously fed (bread and meat) each morning and evening until God told him to leave there to go to the northern town of Zarephath were he would meet a woman who would feed him.
Elijah did meet her at the city gate, and asked her for water to drink and bread to eat. She said to him, “As surely as the Lord your God lives, I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it – and die.” (1 Kings 17: 12) By the promise of God, Elijah told her to make bread for him and then for her son and herself. If she would put her trust in God and do this, he said, “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.” (1 Kings 17: 14) Miraculously, she believed, put her trust in God and God provided!
In the Gospel reading, Jesus was teaching in the Temple where He warned his hearers against the arrogant and prideful Teachers of the Law who wore fancy robes, and made a show of their religion by their prayers and their giving in such a way as to seek the admiration of those around them. Just then He “watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny… Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out to their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’” (Mark 12: 41-44) Miraculously, this widow, too, believed and put her trust in God to provide!
God calls each of us, today, no matter what our circumstances, to place our trust in Him; to believe; and He will also miraculously provide for us! Some among us are very wealthy; some live on fixed incomes, are unemployed or underemployed – and all the rest of us are somewhere in between. God knows our situation and calls us to give our hearts, our wallets and our very selves to Him!
We give ourselves into the hands of Him who gave Himself for us. Jesus’ sacrificial death in our place forgives us all our sins – our sins of selfishness, greed, arrogance, lack of trust and unbelief.
By His Spirit working within us, we do place our trust in Him! “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5: 14-15) God knows our every need, and everything we have comes from His gracious, loving hands. “For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.” (Luther’s explanation to the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed) “Where is your trust?” – in Him and Him alone!
See you in church!
Blessings in Christ,