Why “Zarephath”?

Why would I name my “blog” Journal from Zarephath? It’s the only thing that came to mind… maybe it came from the Spirit. It “fits”, for a lot of reasons. Today I’ll share one of them.

I can’t say with certainty how old I was, but I know I was very young. I first heard the story of Elijah and the widow—the story of the miracle of the flour and oil that did not fail—in a freshly painted Methodist Sunday School classroom. I can also say with certainty that I accepted the veracity of the story with the same innocent trust and faith with which I sang “Jesus Loves Me”. I simply believed it.

For most children, belief comes easily. We tend to believe everything adults tell us. Then we start to listen to the rest of the world. What happens when we listen to the “rest of the world” and forget the simple truths we learned as children? We come to think that we can surely “run out” of all things. We run out of patience. We run out of time. We run out of “resources”—groceries, gas, money, toilet paper, ideas. You name it…everything runs out! Why it’s just common sense, isn’t it? Then we start to run out of hope. It never occurs to us that He will really will provide our daily bread, as well as “all good things”. We begin to believe we have to “earn” it.

“Well, of course”, you say, “It is common sense!” As we live in the “real world” we aren’t supposed to expect miraculous provision. Paul supported himself and his team of helpers largely by the work of his own hands.  But when, for whatever reason, we find ourselves in those times when we have no earthly means of support, do we know how to trust our Father to act in our best interest? After all “God helps those who help themselves” is not found in the Bible. When such times come, do we find that even faith runs out? Haven’t you heard? The “rest of the world” says “faith” is a crutch.

But, as followers of Christ, we’re not supposed to listen to the “rest of the world”.

Ideally, the adults in a child’s life are there to teach many simple truths. One simple truth every child would be fortunate to learn is that a loving parent (or grandparent) can be trusted to act in the child’s best interest. As followers of Christ, we should learn this simple truth: Our Heavenly Father has already acted in our best interest. Even knowing Jesus loved me didn’t stop me from listening to “the rest of the world” for a long, long time. But sometime after passing the half-century mark, when I was no longer “very young”, the Lord began to re-teach me so many simple truths. A lot of my schooling in this stage of the journey seems to come from a chapter of His textbook entitled “My Child, My Riches Never Run Out”.  And there’s an essay question on the chapter quiz that has to do with “Do you understand that being My child gives you free access to all My riches? Explain.”

I hope I can give a silent essay answer He will mark with the grade “passing” in my prayer time, because I can’t “explain” all He is teaching me about His riches “in a million words or less”. Then He comforts me with an assurance there is no “test” for me to “pass”, because He has already acted in my best interest and continues to do so in all His patient teaching. I can promise you, the major point of this chapter has nothing to do with the common “prosperity” teaching about having material blessings, your “heart’s desire”, and freedom from suffering in this life.

Oh, no. There are far better riches in Him than anything this world has to offer. He alone is more precious than silver or gold! When you seek His Kingdom and His righteousness first and finally get it through your head that “the rest of the world” has absolutely nothing to offer, you start finding out “He will give you everything you need.” (New Living Translaton from Matthew 6:33, emphasis added.)

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Comments

  1. When God is all we have we learn that He really is all that we need.

    Nice post. Keep at it.

    Peace,
    kg

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