You ever been broke? I mean really broke? She was and she
couldn’t believe what she was hearing! She was at the end of her rope. Life was
hard enough for a widow in that day and age, but the drought that they had been
experiencing had been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Well she should
have been lucky enough to have a camel with a broken back. She was out of food,
out of money and was so broke that she couldn’t even afford to pay attention.
She had enough food at home to make one last meal, and she figured hey if we’re
going to starve might as well have a hot meal first. So out she went to collect
some fire wood and it was at that point that into her life comes the prophet
Elijah, who like a typical preacher was asking for something. Now the first
request was fairly simple, he said “Would you please bring me a cup of water?”
Well, that wasn’t all that tough, even she could afford to give someone a drink
of water, but as she turned to walk away it got a little tougher because he
said “oh by the way could you grab me a sandwich as well.” Her response to this
man of God would not only have an immediate impact on her life but it would
ultimately have a life changing impact.
Mother’s day and mothers.  A Jewish proverb says, “God could not be everywhere so he made mothers.” The Spanish
say, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of
clergy.” Think about it mother is the name for God in the lips and
hearts of little children. Now let’s recognize right off that simply having
children does not make you a mother, all you have to do is watch the news to
have that verified. Napoleon said, “The future
destiny of a child is the work of a mother”. I believe that mothers have
a special place in the heart of God.
And so in the book of I Kings we are told a story of a
mother.   And I realize that not everyone
here is a mother, but everyone here has or had a mother.
A single mom with a son, who was facing the type of economic
pressure that single mom’s still face today. Except there was no safety net for
her, no monthly cheques coming in, she lived on what she could scrape together
to live on. And on this fateful day, this day when she figured that she was at
the very end of her rope and there wasn’t even enough rope left to tie a knot
God arranges for to take a trip into the divine zone.
And although we know very little about this woman, we do
know that she was a mother and a very devoted mother. And because today is
mother’s day I thought it fitting that I should preach on a mother, and not
just any mother but a very special mother. And even though my mother is a very
special mother I thought that using a mother from the Bible would be more a
little more appropriate for church.
The prophet Elijah has foretold
of a famine and drought that would overcome Israel, and in the course of this
famine and drought he finds himself in need of a little food. And so our story
opens in 1 Kings 17:9 When God tells Elijah  “Go and live in the
village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there
to feed you.”
1) She Was An
Appointed Mother
. Here is a woman about whom we know nothing, we have no
name to call her by, we don’t know her age or her lineage. Nothing and yet God
used her as his instrument to provide for his prophet. This woman had an
appointment with destiny! She was chosen for a specific task. Actually two
specific tasks. The first was to raise a son, the second was to provide for one
of God’s servants.
She had a divine appointment to be a mother, but she also
had a divine appointment to be a servant of God. It was no accident that she
was chosen to meet Elijah, it wasn’t a fluke, it didn’t just happen. Just as
the angel Gabriel said to Mary, rejoice highly favoured one, the lord is with
you blessed are you among women. Just as Mary was chosen, just as Esther was
chosen, just as Ruth was chosen, just as Sarah was chosen, just as Deborah was
chosen, just as Pricilla was chosen, just as Tabitha was chosen. In the very
same way this nameless widow was chosen to serve God by serving God’s servant.
Now the first appointment, the
raising of the son comes with certain ground rules, the first and greatest
being, Proverbs 22:6 Direct
your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave
As parents our greatest responsibility and our greatest
appointment is the spiritual training of our children. All else pales in
comparison. If we neglect their health, there is a good chance that they will
get sick, if we neglect their teeth, there is a good chance that they will lose
them, if we neglect their education there is a good chance they will end up a
bum on the street. But if we neglect their spiritual training there is a good
chance they will go to hell, and hell is forever.
Now keeping that in mind realize that the only
responsibility in Proverbs 22:6 for the parent is the first part, Direct
your children onto the right path 
Dr. James Dobson said that the
message of this proverb was this , “Do your best
when they are young and hope for the best when they are old.” Dobson
also reminds us that there are two ages mentioned here children, and old people
and nothing in between, he doesn’t say anything about adolescents or young
adults, not even Solomon was game to talk about teen-agers let alone make
We can train up our children, we can walk a blameless walk,
we can see that they are in church each week, we can have family devotions, and
we can read them God’s word. But we cannot, cannot, cannot make the decision to
follow God for them. I mean we can’t even guarantee that they will turn out
nice. As much as we would like to determine their salvation, we can only show them
the way and trust God to bring them into his fold. You know what they say, you
can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
Mothers and fathers, you have a responsibility to train your
children right, and if you do all the right things then you increase their
chances of becoming Christians. You can’t however get saved for them, anymore
then you can eat for them. We can bring up two children the same way and one
might choose to become a devout servant of God and the other might choose to
become an axe murderer, but it is their choice. Don’t flog yourself and call
yourself a failure because ultimately there’s as much good luck as there is
good management in raising our kids.  And
remember, even God has problems with his kids.
And kids don’t blame your parents for your stupidity. You
ever see one of those talk shows where people stand up and talk about how the
reason there are what they are is because of their parents. Just once I’d like
to hear someone stand up and say “I had two great parents, they loved me and
did everything they could but I’m complete idiot.”
But listen up, if as a Christian parent you failed to direct
your children’s feet into the paths of righteousness, if you didn’t seek to
give them the spiritual training they required, God’s going to hold you to
account. And you can take that to the bank.
Along with her appointment to raise a son she had an
appointment to serve God by serving others. God has used women mightily
throughout the years. And maybe that is the reason that most of our children’s
workers at Cornerstone are ladies, and maybe that’s why there are more women in
the average evangelical congregation then men. And maybe that’s the reason why
historically the church has had more female missionaries then males. Could it
be that women are more attuned to the voice of God as he calls them to
salvation? And more attentive as he calls them to service? Ladies and
gentlemen, let us keep our hearts open as we endeavour to hear and keep the
appointments that God has for us.
Kings 17:10
So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he
saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a
little water in a cup?”
2) She Was A Caring
The old adage “more is caught then taught” probably holds
truest in child rearing. If we don’t show concern for the welfare of others
let’s not expect our children to. And if we don’t practice giving to the work
of God, then we shouldn’t expect our children to. And if we don’t exhibit a
caring loving attitude toward our brothers and sisters in the Lord, let’s not
be surprised when our children don’t. Children pick up more than you will ever,
ever, realize. That little computer between their ears has an unlimited memory.
They hear everything you say, and see everything you do and it is stored away
in the memories of your children for future reference. Someone commented that
it wasn’t that their children didn’t listen to him that was a worry it was that
they did.
Your capacity for caring will be multiplied through your
children if they catch it. But you will never teach your children to care until
they see how you care. Caring not only for others but also for them. Parents
your children want nothing more than your love, and your care and your
encouragement. Take an interest in what they do, show them that you are proud
of them. Tell them just how proud you are, tell them how smart they are or how
pretty they are. Tell them that you love them and show them with hugs and
And remember that you can’t buy their love with gifts. Money
and presents are no substitute for your love.
1 Kings 17:11-12 As she was going to
get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”   But she said, “I swear by the LORD your God
that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a
handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the
jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son
and I will die.” 
3) She Was A
Practical Mother.
When everything is said and done I believe that the chief
priority for the Christian is to take care of their family. God does not take
food out of the mouths of our children to support the ministry of Joel Olsten,
or Joyce Meyers, or Franklin Graham, or Denn Guptill.
Our financial obligation to God
is the tenth, the tithe. And God isn’t going to deprive your family so he can
get his cut. However you and God may very well have two different concepts of
being deprived. God wants us to take care of our families, God expects us to
take care of our families, as a matter of fact God commands us to take care of
our families 1 Timothy 5:8 But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially
those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse
than unbelievers.
 Pretty heavy words
aren’t they. This woman had no problem being kind to this man of God, but when
the rubber met the road her first concern was for her son.
Kings 17:13-14
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. 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!”
 4) She Was A Believing Mother.
This is the crunch, now God is offering her a choice, “If
you believe in me, really believe in me then provide for my servant first and
you’ll never want, but remember first you have to trust me.” Now think about
it. God could have filled the jars first and that would have made everything a
whole lot easier.
It’s easy to believe when it’s
laid out in front of you, but that’s not faith, at least not like the Bible
defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 Faith
is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us
assurance about things we cannot see.
You have to show your faith before God will show his
faithfulness. Peter had to get out of the boat before he could walk on the
water. Joshua had to march around Jericho for seven days before the walls came
down, and David had to fire his sling before the giant came down.
We read about a very similar
situation involving Elijah’s protégée Elisha in 2 Kings 4:1-7  In that case the widow of a prophet
came to the prophet because after her husband died his creditors were
threatening to take her two sons to pay the debt their father owed.  When asked what she possessed the widow
replied;  “just a bottle of olive oil”.  And her is what she was told by Elisha 2
Kings 4:3-4
And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty
jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with
your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the
jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.”   In case you’ve forgotten the story,
the widow begins to fill all the empty containers from her one bottle of olive
oil, and as long as she poured there was enough olive oil.
The entire story revolves
around verse 3, let’s read it again, And Elisha said,
“Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors.
You know what he was saying; you show me how big your faith
is. He was saying the very same thing that his teacher Elijah had said to a
widow when he told her to feed him first and the flour and oil would never run
All too often we say “When I see it I will believe it.”  But in this case it was only when she
believed it that she could see it.
Some folks did that two weeks ago at consecration Sunday,
they said “I believe that God will provide x amount of money for me to give to
His work.” We don’t see it first, instead we promise it in faith.
When we started this building, we didn’t start because we had
all our ducks in a row, whatever that means because at the time we couldn’t
afford ducks.
 Practically it didn’t
make sense, but we moved ahead because God wanted us to move ahead, and I’m
convinced that if we had not taken that step of faith 9 years ago that this
church wouldn’t exist today.   And as we move ahead there will be times again
 that if we are going to be obedient then
we will need to step out in faith.
Kings 17:15
So she did as Elijah said . . .
5) She Was an
Obedient Mother
It is one thing to believe, it is quite another thing to
turn your belief into action. Anybody can believe. Simple belief is the
simplest chore in the world. Acting upon that belief is another kettle of fish.
It would have been easy for the widow to say, “Ok, I believe, now produce.” But
instead she was willing to give her last morsel away in order to prove her
faith and God’s faithfulness. Her actions said, “God, I not only believe you,
but I believe you enough to give you everything I have” then God produced a
miracle. Do you remember the first miracle that Christ performed? It was at
Canna of Galilee? It was at a wedding and Christ turned water into wine. But
you ever think about how come he needed water, I mean couldn’t he have turned
air into wine? Sure he could of but what he really needed was the obedience of man,
he needed man to do his part. Our first responsibility is to our family, until
God assumes that responsibility by asking for more.
Kings 17:15-16
So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son 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.
6) She Was a Rewarded Mother  God
is faithful, and he will never make a promise that he can’t or won’t keep.
Gabriel told Mary, “nothing is impossible
with God” , and we need to believe that. 
It’s doubtful that the widow could even imagine the reward that God had
in store for her but she discovered the truth of the fact that God is
Mothers there are times that
you feel that your children may never come to know Christ. But don’t quit
praying.  God wants to know your kids and
he wants your kids to have a relationship with him.  So don’t quit praying.
There are folks in this church
today who caused their Christian parents a pile of grief as teens and young
adults and yet today they are serving God. 
So don’t quit praying.  Our God is
a prayer answering God. 
Do you believe that? Do you believe it enough to put it into
And kids, no matter how old you are you are somebody’s kid,
are you wondering what you can  give mom
this Mother’s Day? How about the knowledge that you know Christ as Lord and