This Week's Story

What were the resources of Elijah, the poor widow, and myself?

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

What He Knew

It was 1988 and my income had been reduced and my financial responsibilities increased. When I received my daughter Beth’s letter, I had paid the current bills. We had food in the refrigerator. My two-year old and third grader were well. I had no savings account, two or three dollars in my purse, and about twenty dollars in my checking account.

Beth, who was attending school in Germany, wrote, “Mom, would you please send me $50.00?” I don’t remember why she needed it, but I know she had a time deadline and I did not have the money.

The next morning as I was giving a piano lesson, an adult student left a sack in my kitchen. I asked her, “Pam, what did you put in the kitchen?”

“Pecans! I know you like them and my relatives from Texas brought me some.”

“Delightful, thank you! I’ll make a pecan pie.”

After she left I discovered in the sack a little gift envelope. Enclosed was a fifty-dollar bill. I called Pam by phone. “Why did you put $50.00 with the pecans?”

“I don’t know. This morning I kept getting the thought: Give Barbara pecans and put fifty dollars with them. I figured there must be some reason you needed the money.”

“You’re right. Beth needs exactly $50.00 immediately and I do not have it.”

“God gave me the thought, Barbara.”

I learned that a money order would cost me $10.00 and cost Beth $10.00 to cash. It is not a good idea to mail currency, but I sent the fifty-dollar bill by mail. Beth received it in time. I knew the gift was not coincidence.

About 2,000 years ago, Jesus knew another woman’s finances and heart. As he was in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, he watched rich people putting money into wooden collection boxes. Each was shaped like a trumpet with a bronze funnel to guide coins. As coins dropped in, they clanged against the metal. Watchers could guess how much was being given.

A poor widow dropped two small coins into the box making two small tinkling sounds. Jesus said to the people with him, “This poor woman gave more than all the other people who have been making contributions. They gave a tiny part of their surplus money. She gave all that she had.”

In an Old Testament Bible story, there was tired terrified Elijah. Queen Jezebel of Israel had sworn to kill him. He fled for his life into a desert. At the day’s end he prayed, “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life.”

God provided food for Elijah and he travelled for forty days to Mt. Sinai, the mountain on which Moses had received The Ten Commandments. Elijah stayed overnight in a cave. The next morning God spoke to him. “Elijah, what are you doing here?”

“Lord, I have served you, but the Israelites have broken their agreement with you. They have destroyed altars of worship to you, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only prophet left and now the people are trying to kill me.”

God gave Elijah information that amazed him. “Elijah, I am protecting 7,000 people in Israel who have never bowed and kissed the idol Baal.”

Elijah left the cave. He kept thinking: I am not the only one. What I did not know, God knew.

This is Barbara Steiner with three mini-stories. The last two can be found in Mark 12 and I Kings 19 of the Bible.

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