Call to Obedience
CALL TO OBEDIENCE is a monthly letter to challenge you to live a godly life. Subscribe today to receive your free monthly copy, and don't forget to click to our archives to read past issues of the Call to Obedience. Below is our current issue for this month.CALL TO OBEDIENCE #423
"Whom Are You Feeding?"
By Reimar Schultze
For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water (1 Kings 18:4).
Someone made this analogy about hell: in hell everyone has a spoon, but each spoon is so long that no one can feed himself but only another person. But because each person is selfish, no one is fed and all starve. The opposite is true in the kingdom of God. Here every citizen of the kingdom also has a spoon, but it is short enough that each one could feed himself. Because the carnal nature has been slain out of them and the spirit of the living God dwells within them, none of these saints have a desire to feed themselves, but only others. And as they feed others, the great King of kings provides a sumptuous table before them.
...It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
...He that loseth his life ..shall find it (Matt. 10:39).
By virtue of this, all of us from the richest to the poorest are called to feed somebody. None is exempt from losing his life. None is exempt from giving. So today, let us reach to the very bottom of society to prove that all must feed someone. For this we shall pick two of the poorest persons from the Bible, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. Read and be astonished.
During a famine in Israel Elijah the prophet was being fed by ravens and drinking from the brook Cherith (1 Kings 17). When the brook ran dry, God sent him to a widow of Zarephath and her son. This widow was now on her last meal: call it her death meal. And here God told Elijah to tell this woman to feed him first from this meal. It looks like that if there was ever an excuse for this poorest of poor women not to give, not to feed another mouth, it is here when she was about to die! All common sense is that this is not the time for this woman to serve rather than being served. In the light of this, could not the Lord have kept Elijah with the ravens and opened up a spring for him? In fact at first sight this story looks most repugnant, unethical and unchristian. But here my friend we find again and again that God’s ways are higher than our ways.
I want you to notice the important point here that God likes to prevail upon all of Christendom and that is: God wants His preachers fed so they can feed others. And when man does his part, God brings in the supernatural. God wants all of us in the supernatural.
As everything supernatural begins with self-denial leading to obedience, so it is here. How much self-denial did it take for Elijah to say as God commanded him to this poor widow: Make me a cake first! How frail and weak do you think the woman was by then? Let me ask you, could you go into the home of a dying widow and her son and say: give me a drink and feed me first when the cupboards were empty? Of course only the discerning eye which Elijah had and the discerning eye that this widow had could see that neither were dealing with man but that God was on the scene. For Jesus commented on this widow later saying: But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta [Zarephath], a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow (Luke 4:25-26).
This woman was a saint and she knew what was going on. Do you know what is going on? The tendency of many today, treating ministers as secondhand pieces of furniture because of disappointment with them, nonetheless does not take away the fact that God wants His anointed ones to be taken care of bodily so that everybody else will be taken care of spiritually. Because she obeyed in her unequivocal poverty, the prophet could tell her: For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days (1 Kings 17:14-15).
One of the poorest of the poor in the Old Testament was lifted out of her poverty because she did not have a mindset of I am too poor to give, but had one of I give what little I have and if I perish, I perish. You are never too poor not to give. You are only truly poor if you do not give.
Obadiah fed one hundred prophets, whom are you feeding?
Everyone is called to feed someone. No one is exempt from losing his life. If you give, you will receive. If you give abundantly, you will receive abundantly. If you are so poor you have only 10 grains of rice left and you give two to the Lord’s work, you will receive abundantly in return. God will do a miracle.
We also learn from this that God prefers that His ministers be fed by people rather than by ravens, so that they can get the blessing of oil and bread for their people. God wants His ministers to be able to give themselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). If ministers do not have time for that, but have to work to support themselves, or if they become administrators and coaches instead of men of prayer and the Word, you may get sounding brass and tinkling symbols from the pulpit.
Obadiah fed others. Whom are you feeding? Now, let us have the New Testament story.
And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing (Mark 12:41-42).
Just after Jesus had warned people of the hypocrisy of the scribes, He saw how much people gave to church. Jesus is still watching how much you put into the offering plate. Again, many say: “I am too poor to give. I will give once I have more.” Well my friend, how poor are you? Are you on your last meal like the widow of Zarephath or are you as this poor woman who cast in her last two mites? The Bible tells us she cast in all that she had. And let us ask now whom did she feed? The answer is: she fed Jesus with so much joy that He had this story put into the Bible forever. This too put her at the King’s table. We need to give, all of us, a tithe as a minimum by law but then some more by love as Jesus said: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38). Jesus makes no exceptions on this because it is by these means that you ring the bells in heaven and a miracle is prepared for you. God wants to bless the poor as much as the rich. The stories of these two widows prove it.
Consider further that this temple that the widow gave to had seen the Holy Spirit depart from it a long time ago. Would you throw all your precious money into a place like this? Jesus had plans to destroy this whole place in His back pocket. Oh, my friend, the devout spirit of this woman so overwhelmed Jesus that what she gave to did not bother Him any more than that a thief, Judas, was running His treasury. In fact, He loved that thief to the end. My friend, the greater a distance you put between you and money, the better off you are. Remember: For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Tim. 6:10).
You cannot out-give God because He has more to give than you have and He has a greater desire to bless others than you have. Are we on a wonderful journey my friend with all of this? Are you enjoying it? Are you learning something today?
Now so far I have talked to you very much about physical feeding. Obadiah fed 100 prophets physically. But do not be mistaken, he also fed them spiritually. He gave them encouragement and exhortations and they fed him back in like manner. I believe there was some joyful commotion in those caves. Hallelujah! Similarly Elijah not only gave his widow bread and oil but the word of God. He fed her soul and she being a saint fed his soul and I suspect there was some shouting going on in that home Holy Ghost fellowship. Again, the woman with the two mites also fed Jesus’ soul.
Whose soul are you feeding? All of us need to feed someone spiritually as well. Stop asking what will the church, the brotherhood, do for me. Ask what can I do to feed them and you will ring some more bells in heaven. Do not go to church with an empty basket but with a full one and God will replenish it from His table. The bottom line is that no one is too poor not to enrich the world.