Tax day. My “favorite” time of year. Yesterday I got my tax bill, and I got a very unpleasant shock. My tax bill more than doubled last year. I’ll tell you this much: my income didn’t double last year.
It’s times like this that I sometimes wonder, “If only I didn’t tithe. How much money did I give in tithes and offerings last year?”
But maybe that’s why God timed these two stories just for this day. First, God sent Elijah to King Ahab to tell him of God’s judgment on the land for Israel’s idolatry, which Ahab and his wife led the Israelites into.
Then Elijah went into hiding, and God gave him some queer instructions. He said,
Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there. (3-4)
“Drink from a brook. Check. Ravens will feed me. Che… Um God, did I hear right? Ravens will feed me? You mean I’ll be eating ravens?”
“Nope, ravens will bring you food.”
But Elijah trusted God enough to go, and sure enough, ravens brought him bread and meat every day.
Then when the brook ran dry, God sent Elijah to a poor widow in Zarephath. When Elijah asked her for a drink, she gladly obliged, but when he asked for food, she said,
As surely as the Lord your God lives, I don’t have any bread–only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it–and die. (12)
But Elijah replied,
Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’ (13-14)
Now it was the woman’s turn to do a double take. And to ask herself a question. “How far am I willing to go to trust this man…and God?” But she decided to trust. The result? God was faithful to his word and provided for them all during a time of severe famine.
Which brings me to my situation. This tax thing is really painful. It’s going to hurt financially because I never saw this coming. But the question I need to ask is, “How far am I willing to trust? Will I trust enough to keep giving even when it seems painful?”
I choose to say yes. I choose to trust that the God who has provided for us this far will continue to do so. How about you?
Lord, you know our financial situation. You know how painful this last bill was. I’m still in a state of shock. But Lord, you’ve always provided. And I believe that just as you provided for Elijah and the widow, you will provide for us. Help me to trust you each day in everything I do and every choice that I make. In Jesus name, amen.