BLESSINGS THROUGH MISSIONS
1 Kings 17:8-16
March 8, 2005 SUN a.m.
We know that God is using Elijah the Prophet for many purposes. But here we can illustrate Elijah as a servant of God as doing God’s missions for His kingdom. We can picture here some truths and application with regards to the principle of missions and the life of missionaries. We can find here how blessings come through missions giving.
I- BLESSINGS THROUGH THE MANDATE OF THE WORD OF GOD
A. The scriptural formula of blessings
The story started with the word, “And the word of the Lord came.”—v.8 It must remind every missionaries and brethren that without the Lord and His Word we can accomplished nothing and expect no blessing.
Missionary Giving or Mission Program is not and must not be based on human perspective but it is an scriptural formula in spreading the gospel around the world according to the Lord—Mark 13:10
Missionary giving program is not a modern human invented program how the church can raise finances but it was a biblical formula how the message of Salvation can be known in to all corners of the world through sending and supporting God called men.
B. The supernatural formula of blessings
Practically sustenance comes from a human instrument, that will obey the commandment of the Lord—v.9 “I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” God is the instructor and human is the instrument.
Before Missionaries comes in our way, the omnipotent and omniscient God already commanded us to support. It is not Elijah who demands but it is God Himself who commands—v.9
It is unusual for human’s comprehension to accept that poor widow will be the supporter of the needs of Missionaries. Missions’ giving is a Heaven’s formula how He can bless poor people like the widow in Zarephath. God blesses the poor people of God in the same way as He blesses the rich people of God. If rich people can support Missionaries poor people are also commanded to give for Missionaries.
The world’s philosophy says, “If you are rich and have money you can support missionaries but poor people could not join the missions giving”. But on the other hand, God with His supernatural formula cares not only for missionaries but also for the poor widow so He wanted her to join the missions giving in order to be blessed.
C. The simple formula of blessings
God’s formula is simple. Just obey what He says.
God says “get thee to Zarephath” (v.9) and Elijah “went to Zarephath (v.10)
God says “I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee” (v.9) and he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there.(v.10) Missionaries are blessed if they will humbly comply what God had told them to do.
God’s formula is simple. Just obey what He says through the spokesman.
We can heard God’s Word through God’s spokesman. Elijah say, “Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” (v.10) and “Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.” (v.11)
Half obedience is disobedience. The widow eagerly obeyed to fetch a vessel of water (v.11) but she hesitant at first to obey by giving Elijah a morsel of bread (v.11).
There is no shortcut to the road of blessing. Elijah said “For thus saith the Lord God of Israel,”—v.14. So, the poor widow “went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days”—v.15 Also, in verse 16 “And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.”
II- BLESSINGS THROUGH THE MISSIONARIES AS WORKERS OF GOD
A. The Missionaries are channel of blessings
In verse 12 the struggling situation of the widow in missions giving but in verse 13 we can see that Elijah helping the widow to pay attention and focus on missionaries needs and not on family needs. “Fetch me”—v.10, “Bring me”—v.11, “make me”—v.13, “bring it unto me,”—v.13. Our family must be a mission-minded family or a missionaries-centered family. Sometimes our blessings come through Missionaries and not only Missionary’s blessing comes through us. The more Missionaries the church have the more blessings will come in the church.
Here we can see that God uses Elijah to bless the widow. “she went and did according to the saying of Elijah”—v.15, “according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.”—v.16.Missionary is not a burden but channel of blessings.
B. The Missionaries are challenge of blessings
The real and honest but faithless widow is in verse 12 but the lesson of truth that is a challenge for the widow and all of us is to learn to trust God’s promise that we can support missionaries—v.13. That is Faith Promise Giving. Many Christians today like the widow think that they cannot support Missionaries. Many churches today think first of the building instead of Missionaries who will bless us with a building. Every churches small or large should support missionaries. Small churches will remain small and not be blessed if we do not care for missions.
C. The Missionaries brings completeness of blessings
Look at verse 15 “she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.” And in verse 16 “the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail”. Paul said, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:19. We must take care of missionaries and God will take care of us all the days of our life.
III- BLESSINGS THROUGH THE MATERIALS PLACED IN THE WILL OF GOD
A. The priority of missionaries
In verse 13, Elijah strongly said, “make me thereof a little cake first,” in spite of practical reasoning of the poor widow. Many churches today think of their capacity not of God’s priority. When we prioritize missionaries we prioritized God. If the widow makes herself and her son to eat first, could she still have a food to prepare for Elijah? Could she still have food for her family the next day? Listen, many families today are struggling because they do not seek first the needs of the missionaries. And because of the increasing population of the world we need to encourage more Christians to surrender as missionaries and so we must encourage missionaries by giving priority to their needs. We need to cut-off our personal and church budget to give way to the cause of missions.
B. The partnership with missionaries
God is the sender, Elijah is the servant, and the Widow is the supporter. God is the Author of Missions—v.9, Elijah the Actor and the Widow is the Aid. God bless Elijah through the Widow and God bless the Widow through Elijah, and Elijah and the Widow blessed God by obeying what the God says in His Word.
No other church supports Paul in the mission when he departed from Macedonia except the Philippians church and Paul received a missionary gift from them through Epaphroditus--Philippians 4:15, 18. Be partners of God and Missionaries through prayer, soul-winning, and giving. If you are not called to go as fulltime Missionaries then give.
C. The purpose of missions
It pleased God to bless the Widow so the Widow can bless God. Elijah said to the Widow, “For thus saith the Lord God of Israel,”—v.14 Elijah want the Widow to acknowledge God and live for God who blesses her of everything and she must give and surrendered her life to Him for His glory--Philippians 4:19. God wants the Widow to be in His will and live for the glory of God. And the first step to be in His will is to let someone trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour then lives for Him after they got saved.