As we celebrate fall and the abundance that harvest brings, we focus on God’s bountiful provision for us.
Set chairs around the tables. In the center of each table place a ceramic bowl with a small amount of flour and another bowl of oil. This is to represent the widow’s meager supply of food. At each seat place a mini–mason jar (salt and pepper shaker size), post–its and a pen.
Serve a variety of breads (cupcakes/ banana bread/ pastries) and drinks.
Praise and Worship
Suggested Music For Worship
“Desert Song” by Hillsong
“More Than Enough” by Chris Tomlin
“Jehovah Jireh, My Provider” by Merla Watson
“God Provides” by Tamela Mann (to be played during activity)
God is Our Great Provider
Read 1 Kings 17:7–24.
We tend to view our lives and all things that make up life as limited. There’s even a popular slang word YOLO (which means “You Only Live Once”) that encourages people to indulge in life because their days are numbered. We hurry to the market when there is a sale because those items may run out. Wars have been fought over limited space. There is always competition for who has the best (fill in the blank), and that (fill in the blank) can only be the best because it is exclusive and in limited supply. We have a fear that we are going to miss out. Unfortunately, we can place God in that same limited perspective. We limit Him in various ways depending on our relationship with Him.
In 1 Kings we read about a widow who has a similar life-limiting perspective. God tells His prophet Elijah to go to the town of Zarephath because a widow will be ready to give Elijah some food. Any normal person in her situation can understand why she had this perspective. Her life was filled with limitations. She was a widow (vs.9), and because of that she probably had very little means to provide for herself and her family. She had very little flour and oil left, just enough to make one last meal (vs.12). There had been no rain in the land, making her already difficult life even more dire (vs.7).
Aside from her physical situation, the widow had placed limitations on God and her hopes for life. When Elijah first saw her, she was preparing to die after eating her last meal with her son (vs. 12). Later, when her son becomes ill and stops breathing, the widow believes it is because God was punishing her for her sins (vs. 18). For this widow, God was someone with limited forgiveness and limited grace.
God begins to change her perspective as the passage goes on. He first provides for her immediate needs by assuring that the flour and oil would not run dry (vs. 14). Not only was there enough food for herself and her son, but for Elijah as well. God also promised to provide rain (vs. 14). He provided health and life for the widow’s son (vs. 23). But above all these physical needs, God showed the widow that He is a generous and merciful God. He showed her Himself.
God provided His word and instruction through Elijah. His presence was evident through the daily provision of bread and the power to bring life. God did not spare any of this for the widow.
Our God is an unchanging God. He continues to provide generously for His people. He did not withhold the most precious gift of all and gave us Jesus. God did not withhold anything so that we may be with Him and know Him as He knows us. Our God is eternal and infinite. Nothing can limit Him. And if our lives are made new through Christ, there is no limit for us either. We can be as generous as He is (John 14:12).
In the beginning of the story, the widow was asked to give her last morsel of food to Elijah. She was asked to place herself in a position of faith, to give what she held most dear so that God could show her His complete provision. He asks us to do the same today—to put our limited perspective in His limitless and generous hands and to see the life He brings to it.
Small group discussion around the tables
- Why is it important for us to identify God as the source of all our needs?
- What advantages and responsibilities did Elijah have in comparison to this widow?
- What advantages and responsibilities do Christians have in comparison to non–Christians?
- What area in your life is God asking you to give to Him that requires faith?
After the devotion and praise period, allow time for the women to meditate quietly upon what they’ve learned and how they will apply it to their lives.
Invite them to record areas in their lives where they have limited God’s power, or where they cannot see with God’s infinite perspective. Ask the women to write a post-it note asking God to give them an opportunity to practice the spirit of generosity in faith. When finished ask them to put their notes in a mason jar. This will be a keepsake to take home and remind them of what they wish to accomplish.
Close in prayer.