Loaves, Fishes, and Missionary Meals

I really loved the institute lesson this morning.   
We talked about 1 Kings 17.  It's a story that most might find familiar.  
Elijah, the prophet, has gone into hiding.  His life is in danger as he has spoken out against Ahab, the king.  He survives in the desert for quite some time but is eventually directed by God to travel to Zarephath where he will find a widow who has been instructed to sustain him.  When he finds her, he calls to her and says:

10.  Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.   11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.   12 And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.   13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.   14 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.   15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.   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.
As we read this today. I immediately thought of the loaves and fishes story from the New Testament.  Jesus had been teaching a huge crowd  (5000 to be exact).  They were hungry, very hungry.  Christ sensed their hunger but also knew they were reluctant to leave him as they desired to continue to be taught by Him.  In mercy, he inquired through His apostles who among the crowd might have food.  All the food that could be found among the entire gathering belonged to a young boy.  He had five loaves of bread and two fish.  Christ takes the young man's offering and through his intervention, 5000 are fed.  
At the conclusion of today's lesson, a humble sister in the back of the chapel raised her hand.  She shared an experience.  Her pantry was also bare on a particular occasion, she had very little food in the home and no funds to go buy more.  She remembered that she had responsibility to feed the missionaries that night.  She worried about how she would find enough to feed these 2 guests as well as her own family but was reluctant to cancel and hoped it would work out some way.  She was emotional as she explained that after she fed those two young adult boys as well as her own family, she realized that the leftovers she had were more than what she had originally started with.  Much like the Widow of Zarephath, and the story of the loaves and fishes, she had miraculously been cared for as she exercised faith.

We all can probably look back on our lives and recognize our own "loaves and fishes" moments.
Some of us may have MANY.

I can think of so many times when the Lord has provided for us.  Sometimes it has been temporal, like these examples, but other times, he has taken my meager offering and made it substantial.  He has helped me forgive when I didn't think I had it in me.  He has compensated for me and stretched my abilities with church assignments.  He has given me the words to teach when I couldn't find them myself.  With his intervention it was enough.
All that we need, the Lord can provide.  We have to exercise faith FIRST.  Sometimes he might require that we give all that we have but eventually the miracle will come.  Just like the widow that fed Elijah,  we have to trust in Him.


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