Matters of Faith: “And the Lord will Reward You”

By Reverend J. Loren Russell

1 Kings 17:13-16

“But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 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 the crops grow again!” So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.”

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head” (Proverbs 25: 21-22). This proverb is repeated by Paul in the book of Romans (12:20). Interestingly, Paul does not include the second part of verse 22: “and the LORD will reward you.” I guess he must have thought that his readers would somehow already know that. But the writer of Proverbs makes it plain, and in so doing, helps exemplify the blessings spoken of in 1 King 17:13-16.

That’s where the story is told of a widow of Zarephath who was blessed because of her willingness to give the man of God, Elijah by name, not just food and drink, but her last portion of food and drink. There was a severe famine in the land that was prophesied to occur by Elijah to king Ahab. Before he showed up at her house, she was planning to make a little cake for herself and her son, which would be their last meal. But Elijah was running for his life from king Ahab and instructed by God to go to this woman’s house. He asks, and she uses her last bit of her oil and flour to make him a meal. She had to be a woman of great faith to decide that she would forsake the feeding of herself and her own son for this man of God (read the entire 17th chapter of 1 King).

Out of her willing heart, she made a cake of dough for Elijah. Miraculously, Elijah also prophesied to the woman that the oil would never run out and the flour would never be used up. It happened just like he said; she had more than enough until the rain finally came and replenished the land.

During this holiday season, we share meals and gifts in abundance. But I wanted to take this time to encourage you to not just be gracious to those that you love, but to think about and then provide food to the hungry and water to the thirsty. I’m not talking solely about giving to the homeless and the helpless. Most of us do that in one form or another purely out of the goodness of our hearts. But the scriptures found in Proverbs and Romans says that we are to give water and food to those who mean us harm. That’s the challenge.

What about your enemies? What about your adversaries? This Christmas season, why not go outside your comfort zone? Why not stretch beyond your reach? Why not touch the lives of those who you know or think mean you no good? How about showing love to those who are truly hungry and desperately thirsty with a hand of benevolence and an once of compassion? They need food and drink too. Remember, there is a promise that was made in Proverbs and exemplified in 1 Kings…, “and the Lord will reward you!”

Be Blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial &. Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen by phone” at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book at Book Blues.

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