Have you ever noticed how life can feel like a continuous barrage of competing choices? Often the choices feel impossible to make.
The story of Elijah and the widow from the book of 1 Kings 17 illustrates this dilemma well. In this story, Elijah, in obedience to God, went to a town where he met a widow. This widow had only enough food to make one final meal for herself and her son. Elijah asked her to bring him some bread knowing how little she had. On the surface, this request seems pretty absurd. Nonetheless, when Elijah was done with his request, he had presented this woman with two competing choices. Obey the prophet of God and feed him first or feed herself and her son one final meal. If she fed Elijah, she would have nothing left to feed herself or her son. If she fed herself, she risked disobeying God’s prophet and missing the promised miracle. What would you do?
This story illustrates the types of competing choices we have to make every day with our money. These choices both seemed like honorable choices. She could feed her family or feed Elijah in obedience. In fact, feeding her family seems like the more responsible choice. Regardless, she had to make a choice. She could not do both.
Understanding that life and finances is a series of competing choices is essential when deciding how to use our resources. The greatest risk inherent in these dilemmas is that we will permit the struggle to choke out the miracle God wants to do in our lives. It is so tempting to allow the needs and desires of today to overwhelm and drown out the miracle of tomorrow.
When we are faced with simultaneous, competing priorities, our first question should be “God, what do you want me to do?” This is what the widow asked and this is what we have an opportunity to ask every day. When we fail to seek God’s direction with our finances, we could be missing a miracle He wants us to experience.
We must understand that God is more interested in our character and our reliance on Him than He is in our material comfort. In fact, we are often most teachable when we are at our lowest. If the widow had had enough food to feed herself for months, one meal for Elijah would have been no big deal. But she didn’t have enough and she still chose to rely on God and feed Elijah. As a result, she saw her last food multiplied for many days. The miracle she experienced increased her faith and trust in God. It shaped her character and deepened her reliance on Him.
When we get in the habit of seeking God’s direction in how we use our resources, we become more attune to hearing His voice and our eyes become more open to seeing the miracle that is waiting. Choices will always surround us. The choices we make shape our future. Are you willing to give up your last meal in hopes of the promises of God? Take a chance. Listen to God. Expect to see God show up and begin to form you into a person after His own heart.