By Eileen Wood
The Widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-16)
Then the word of the Lord came to [Elijah]. “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”
So, he arose and went to Zarephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a pitcher; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
And Elijah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord the God of Israel, ‘The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the pitcher of oil shall not fail, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.”
And she went and did as Elijah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the pitcher of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord which he spoke by Elijah.
The topic of money is something that tends to be quite difficult for most people to talk about in our society. In fact, people will often reveal their contraceptive mentality with perfect strangers in the checkout line at the grocery store (Saying things like “You have HOW many kids? I got my girl, I got my boy, I got no more” or “Two and through!”) and yet won’t share their annual salary with their closest friends or siblings.
As uncomfortable as finances might be to discuss, it is an important topic in many ways. God calls us to be generous in all areas of our lives, including our time, talent, and treasures. For those of us who are using and teaching the Billings Ovulation Method®, we have already struggled through the concept of being generous with our fertility and cooperating with God in bringing forth new life. But what about being generous in all areas of our life?
Tithing is generally thought of as giving a tenth of your income to charity. For those who strictly follow it, that tenth comes right off the top, even before Uncle Sam takes his share. Then, typically your local church will get half of your tithe while the other half goes to various charities of your choice.
My husband and I have handled our charitable giving in different ways over the years. At times, we just picked a random amount to give to church each week and went up a few dollars annually when we got a raise. At other times, we approached it more rigorously and looked at our yearly gross income, calculating 10% of that and compared it to how much we were giving. We found that, as generous as we thought we were being, it was well below 10%. We then worked slowly to correct that.
A missionary priest once put all of this in perspective for me by saying, “Does 10% of your money belong to God? No, 100% of your money belongs to God. He is just gracious enough to let you keep 90% of it. So, if you don’t give back that 10%, then you are stealing from God!” His words were tough and challenging, but they always stuck with me.
A funny thing about living life God’s way is that it actually becomes easier and even enjoyable. So, if you decide how much money to give away to charity off the top, you have already detached yourself from that money in your mind. It is as if it’s no longer yours. (Think of it like tax withholdings taken out of your paycheck so you don’t ever think of that money as being yours from the start. Only in this case, God doesn’t force you to give like the government does.) Now, you can have some real fun with it. Yes, fun! It becomes like a game.
Let’s think in round numbers. If your household earns $100,000/year, you are talking about $10,000 in charitable giving. Half of that should go to support your local church, meaning $5,000 or about $100/per week will go in the collection basket. But what about that other $100 per week? Well, that goes to an appropriate charity of your choice. Requests for donations are always coming in the mail, through email, and from family and friends. If you have children in Catholic schools, there will be many opportunities that way as well. And please don’t forget about BOMA!
Now, instead of feeling the stress of desperately “looking” for money from your budget to donate, you can just have fun giving away “someone else’s money” since it isn’t yours anymore!
In the biblical passage at the beginning of this article, God, through Elijah asks the widow to give away everything, even down to her last morsel of food. In obedience, she does what is asked and is rewarded many times over. Always remember, God will not be outdone in generosity. After all, He has all the money in the world!
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21
BOMA-USA provides education and training for The Billings Ovulation Method® which is a natural method of fertility management that teaches you to recognize the body's natural signs of fertility.