“But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son” (1 Kings 17:13b NIV).
Giving to God is never easy. Here we find an example of a widow. She was about to prepare her last meal. Then comes Elijah. He makes a demand. He asked her to first make a small cake of bread for himself. We have to remember that the widow knew nothing about God’s command to Elijah to be there. And Elijah only knew that God was going to provide him food through her. She was also told God’s promise that her jar of flour and jug of oil would not run dry till the Lord gave rain on the land. She obeyed.
But it is a wonder how she got the courage to act on his word! See, she was a foreigner and not an Israelite and might have only heard about the Lord of Israel. If you were in her situation, it would have been a terrible struggle to decide whether to obey the prophet’s words. So, giving to God is not easy; for many times you may have to decide to provide yourself with some comfort; or instead sacrifice it to give to God.
Again, giving to God means trusting God to provide. The widow, when she gave, was putting her trust in the Lord’s words through Elijah. She was ready to trust God rather than in the last meal she had. This opened the way for God’s continual supply during the famine. It is interesting to note the fact that Jesus mentioned about this widow during one of His talks in another context (Luke 4:26). The lesson she teaches is that you too can trust in God’s provision when you give to God.
Then, there is the question of priorities. Elijah asked her to “first” make a small cake of bread for himself! Many find it difficult to give to God first. They try to manage money for all their needs first. Then they try to keep aside a portion at the end of the month to give to God. But most of them will find that their money management finally leaves them with no money to give to God. Most of them will find themselves borrowing money too. So, if you wish to see God’s provision in your life, give to God the first and the best. Then spend on yourself from the rest.
Finally, many do not give to God because they think they don’t have much to give. This is a needless thought. Elijah told the widow to make for himself a small cake of bread from what she had! So, give a portion from whatever you have even though it might be very small. God will provide for you when you do so!