And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.—1 KINGS 17:15 KJV
Before God sent Elijah from the brook Cherith, He had already commanded a widow in Zarephath to sustain the prophet.
We don’t know if God did that by a specific revelation or by some inner prompting. But we can tell from the account in 1 Kings that the woman recognized Elijah as a Jew who followed Jehovah.
As Elijah arrived at the gate of Zarephath, the widow seemed unaware of God’s full plan. She was preparing to make her last meal, but the stranger offered her a choice: She could feed herself and her son first, or she could feed him first, believing that he was speaking the truth when he said her oil and meal would last until the drought ended.
The woman chose to serve Elijah first—and God blessed her. He kept her alive through the famine and eventually gave her back her son’s life.
Like that widow, we often have a choice in caring for the people God sends into our lives. They may be members of our family or our church—or they might be total strangers, the people most easily overlooked.
Like the widow of Zarephath, we receive unexpected benefits when we choose to serve. Answer God’s call to care for others—even strangers—and be blessed.