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Title:  What a good mother does on a bad day

Text: 1 Kings 17:8-16

Introduction: I know it is not easy being a mother.  And because you have children everyday is not going to be a good day. I can say this with confidence because I know I personally I have added some bad days to my mother’s life.  As mother, what do you do when you are having a bad and you have come to your wits end?  Not only that you are trying to hold it down by yourself because the support you had is not there anymore for whatever reason. But you still have to function because you have people depending on you.  How do you cope?

Background: The woman in our text today is really having a bad day. The fact of the matter is that she is under the impression that this is going to be her last day for her and her son.  But God thru the prophet Elijah has different outcome. So on this Mother’s Day, God is encouraging you mothers not to throw in the towel when things look bad.  He is reminding you today that despite your situation you are in His providential care.  And please know that…

I.    You were hand picked for your assignment. 

In our text today, God commanded the widow to do some thing for Him in the time of a great drought. The text says that the Lord commanded a widow to sustain the prophet Elijah. Mothers, you have been called into duty by God himself.  God has singled you out to be the mother you are.  You were assigned to raise those children. You got instructions from above to take care of their needs no matter what it takes. According to God, it is on you and no one else. This widow woman in our text by definition had no husband meaning no covering. She had no one to keep the family together.  She was now alone to fend for herself.  But it was not her fault.  Yet she had a calling to fulfill.  Some of you mothers can testify you have been widowed; some by death, some by emotions, some by finances.  You don’t have a husband.  He died or not there for whatever reason and left you to fend for the family by yourself. Yet God has chosen you for a specific assignment in His kingdom.  As a mother you have a god-like characteristic as a sustainer. The prophet Elijah was weak and needed some nourishment and this woman was assigned to feed him as he was one of God’s chosen vessels.  My beloved, there is probably nothing more blessed then to have children.  Children are the heritage of the Lord. However, mothers know that children can be weak due to their circumstances around them like the prophet and need to be strengthened.  Mothers, this is your ministry! Your children have become weak due to their environment. They need a sustainer in their lives.  They need someone to nourish them back to wholeness because they are God’s chosen vessels.  Being a sustainer is not passive. It is actively giving your children what they need. No matter what they may be going thru, mothers sustain them! Sustain them thru their addiction, sustain them thru depression, sustain while they are trying to figure out who they are.  God called you before the foundations of the world to sustain them. Sustaining is not the same as enabling.  The problem is that we enable our children to function in weakness instead of sustaining so they can get out of it.  So, mothers take you orders seriously because the children of God need you to sustain them!

II.  She uses her resources available v.10

As the Elijah entered the city gate, He saw sees a woman gathering sticks. Here at the most populated and busy part of the city, a woman is collecting sticks. The first thing we see is that this woman knew what to do with the things around as a resource for a greater good.  She was taking what was broken and dry (pieces of wood, things with no life and no use) to be used to make fire.  This is symbolic of mothers are resourcefulness. Mothers have the ability to use things others would just throw away or disregard. You took old fabric that nobody wanted and used it to clothe your children. You took scraps of food that no one wanted, the leftovers and got creative put it together a meal to feed your kids. That is what God does.  He takes us as we are dry and broken gathers us up together to make use of us for some greater good! Not only did she use the sticks as a resource, this was an act of humility.  The gate of the city was a heavy trafficked area. People must have seen this women bending down picking up sticks.  I could imagine that she didn’t care who saw her.  Mothers know when things get bad you put your pride to the side and forget people and take a menial job so you can take care of business.  It was survival time! This mother was desperate and tenacious yet kept her honor like every good mother in time of need. Nothing stops a mother when you get started. When the going get tough mothers keep going!  This woman didn’t mind working.  She was not sitting with her hand out but her hands were reaching out ready to work! But I looked at this text metaphorically. In order for her to pick up broken pieces she had to bend down. God is telling a mother today there are broken and dry pieces all around you that need to be picked up.  But in order for you to pick them up, you are going to have to bend down in prayer so you can get up holding and in control of those things that are broken and dry in your life. And some of the stuff you picked up need to be burned so you can get on with you life like the woman in the text. Next we see…

III.          She was self-sacrificing vv. 10b-12

The prophet sees her being resourceful “gathering” and says to her “get me some water”. Recognizing he was a stranger, as her custom teaches, she looks after him and goes to gets the prophet some water without any hesitation.  She stops what she was doing to help the man of God, a stranger in need.  Good mothers always put their needs aside for the betterment of some one else’s need especially their children.  Mother’s do this naturally but God is looking for some mothers to do this spiritually. This woman was a self-sacrificing and God was going to honor her for character that looked like His. To be self-sacrificing is to be Christ-like.  It was Jesus who thought it not robbery to wrap himself in flesh and dwell with us and take our stuff so we would not have to pay the price!  My beloved when you align with the God’s character, He will bless you! 

As she was going, the prophet hollered at her again and asked her for some cake.  But she humbly replied, as the Lord your God liveth, I don’t have any cake but a handful of meal and some oil and I got me some sticks. I am going to whip it up. We are going to eat and die. Not only didn’t the woman have what the prophet requested but she only had a little to live off of. Worse, she had no hope left to live.  She didn’t have any thing left.  There is a mother here who may be feeling that they don’t have anything left not only in resources, but also strength and hope.  It is bad enough not have any thing left for yourself but is bad when you don’t any left to give to the one’s who really need you like this widow’s son.  Mothers, some of you have come to the end the rope but hold on and don’t lose hope.  Despite your lack and the lack around you, help is on the way. You are in God’s providential care. I know got at least 3 witness who can testify that when you got down to your last and was ready to give up that is when God steps in!!  He comes in right on time!!

IV.  She had assurance that was connected to her obedience vv. 13-15

In response to this woman’s lack in her life, the prophet gives some important instructions.  He tells her, “don’t fear and do as I say.  But first make me a cake and bring it to me and after make some for yourself and your son”. Did he just say hook me up first then feed yourself and the kid?  Something is wrong with this picture.  Initially this would sound alarming for a grow man to ask a starving woman and her son to eat after he does.  However, a biblical principal unfolds in our eyes.  In biblical typology, Elijah is a type of father of the Godhead.  As with any good dad who see his child doing the right thing, God the father is always there to give His children assurance when they are in need.  Look at the text.  In v. 14, Elijah gives her a prophetic promise. He tells her that God said that your barrel of meal won’t run out neither will your cruse of oil go to waste until the Lord sends rain.  One thing we see here is that this woman will be taken care of by God.  Secondly, tells us that God is in control. He works outside and independent our circumstances. He will use this drought to bring glory to Himself. My beloved, your trial is just another mechanism for God to show Him self strong in your life! According to the promise from the prophet, she won’t lack in what she has until God sends rain! But this only contingent if she had faith in the word which was spoken and she is obedient enough to follow it.  Mothers, you may be in a situation that you don’t understand because God is asking you to make a sacrifice for him first when you got other needs.  But I am here to tell you to hold on to the promise of God and he will take care of you.  Jesus tells in Matt. 6:33 to seek ye first…But we also see in the text that God’s care goes beyond cultural barriers.  This woman was not an Israelite.  Yet by faith and obedience to the Word, she had a promise coming her way.  This is good news to a mother who feels the world is against her because of who she is and what she had done.  God’s love can cross boundaries that are hindering you.  You have to have faith and obey his word and God will do the miraculous in your life.  Look at what happens next for the widow woman.  This leads to our last point.

IV.             She experience God’s provision. v.15b

God is sovereign.  Despite what is going on God operates according to his providence.  God guides human affairs and destiny. God provides! The word provision means to see ahead. God looks at you life from end to the beginning.  So God knew what this woman would need to make it until the rain comes.  So by her faith, the creative power of the word of God caused what she had to expand to meet her needs.  The jar of meal was not spent neither did the jar of oil empty according the Word of the Lord. The text says that she eat many days. It didn’t run out!  So mothers you may be in season of drought but be obedient to what the Word says. And God will keep you until He rains blessings in your life.  Know that your circumstance don’t hinder God, they activate him when you have faith!

Close: Mother, since you have been sustaining others, God is going to sustain you.  His sustenance is not going to run out until the rain comes!  Look at your neighbor and tell them, “It’s going to run out!” In the text, the widow woman was working with three ingredients to maintain her life; meal, oil and wood to make fire.  When you put all three of these ingredients together you make bread. Bread is symbolic our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our sustainer.  Jesus is our daily bread.  He sustains us daily. That means Jesus don’t run out! If Jesus don’t run out, his love for you don’t run. His peace don’t run out etc… It don’t run out!  A good mother can still praise God on a bad day because Jesus didn’t run out!

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