March 2, 2015

Giving: An Antedote to Poverty?

God instructed The Prophet Elijah to travel to Zarephath (a city of Sidon) and dwell with a poor widow to escape drought and a grievous famine in Israel. When Elijah arrived in the city, he saw a widow woman gathering sticks and he asked her, “Please bring me a little water in a cup that I may drink.” And while she was going to get the water, he asked her to bring him a morsel of bread. Her response, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin and little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”

Elijah’s response, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’” The poor widow woman fulfilled Elijah’s request. As a result, she and her household ate for many days without running out of flour and oil. And, life was restored to her sick son.

When people are in need, some tend to their needs first before others. This is especially true for women and families living without basic necessities for an extended period of time. However, the widow woman did not allow her extremities to prevent her from making provisions for Elijah. Following are a few characteristics the widow woman exuded that changed her impoverished stance:

  • She was not a complainer.
  • She was very humble and industrious.
  • She was charitable and generous.
  • She had strong faith and confidence in God and His word.
There are different levels and types of poverty – situational, generational, and extreme. The solution for each need different strategies, but a simple way out of many struggles could be tied to how we give. This view doesn’t minimize or trivialize the seriousness of poverty and its impact, but it does demonstrate the impact of giving. Just as poverty have different levels and types, so does giving.

Matthew 10:8b states, “Freely you have received, freely give.” Galatians 6:7b, states, “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” And, Luke 6:38 states, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

The measure of our lives will be determined by how we give, not how we receive. How does your life measure up?

Note: Bible verses are from The King James Version of the Bible.

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