God had just used Elijah to defeat the 400 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, after that, God had given Elijah supernatural physical strength so that Elijah could catch and outrun Ahab’s chariot to Jezreel. Now, Jezebel had threatened his life. She promised to kill him before twenty-four hours had passed. After seeing the miracles God had just performed, how could any human being think that they could do anything to one of God’s chosen people? Even worse, after all Elijah had experienced, how could he possibly believe that God could not protect him from the threats of Jezebel? Is the God on the mountain not still God in the valley? Yes, He is! We want to spend our lives living mountain top experiences. We should take notice that there is very little life on the mountains above the timberline. The view is great and the atmosphere is exhilarating, but there is not enough dirt or oxygen to sustain life. The life-giving elements are down in the valley and we need to spend some time there as well. Elijah was having his valley experience, wallowing in self-pity, as we so often do. God said “get up and eat”. He was preparing Elijah for a journey that would take all of his strength. When God calls us to do a work, He always provides everything we need to accomplish the task. It is up to us to decide whether or not we are going to “eat” the spiritual food that will prepare us for the trip through the valley and to the next mountaintop.
If we don’t eat the spiritual food God provides, the road will be rough and the journey will be miserable. But if we do eat and prepare, the road will seem to be smooth and the journey will be a joy as we experience the presence of Jesus leading us home.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
We spend the majority of our time working to make money and another good portion of our time figuring out how we are going to spend that money. Plans, goals and budgets are good things. Our goal is to make it to heaven, but Jesus understood that it takes money to make the trip. After all, Judas was the “treasurer” for Jesus and His disciples. But Jesus also told the rich young ruler to sell all that He had and give it to the poor. So, the question is how much is enough and how much is too much. The writer of Proverbs put it this way:
8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me;
9 Lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God. — Proverbs 30:9 NKJV
Jesus taught us to pray “give me this day my daily bread”. When God sent manna from heaven, He instructed the Israelites to collect only enough for each day (except for the day before the Sabbath when they collected enough for two days). If they collected more, it rotted and was of no use. How much is enough is a question each of us should ask the Lord. We just need to remember who we are serving and be sure we allow Him to be Lord of our lives. Then, when the bank account is overflowing, it won’t be too much and when it is empty, it won’t be too little. He has promised to provide and if we are obedient, He will do just that.
41 “Then the king will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me! God has cursed you! Go into everlasting fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels! 42 I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me.’ 44 “They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’ 45 “He will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do for me.’ Matthew 25:41-45 (God’s Word Translation)
I cannot read these verses without being reminded of how little I do for others. True, my resources are very limited, but it is also true that if we have a home in which to live, food for today and tomorrow, and one extra set of clothing, we are richer than 80% of the world’s population.
How much is too much? How little is too little? These are questions we all need to talk to God about and let Him answer those questions for us. I think how we receive those answers from God will go a long way in showing us where our hearts and our treasures lie. What would happen if we really and truthfully depended on God to supply our every need? Could we, would we do it? The apostles did. 7 He called the twelve apostles, sent them out two by two, and gave them authority over evil spirits. 8 He instructed them to take nothing along on the trip except a walking stick. They were not to take any food, a traveling bag, or money in their pockets. 9 They could wear sandals but could not take along a change of clothes. Mark 6: 7-9 (God’s Word Translation)
I am probably going too far with this (something that I usually do when I am researching and meditating on topics), but I sometimes feel conviction when I open my closet door and see clothes hanging there that I haven’t worn this year (and probably not last year, either). And, even though I have a very small refrigerator and pantry, I have food that I could share. Especially this time of year with the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons approaching, as well as the cold weather that is coming. Material things, in and of themselves, are neutral, but our attitudes, thoughts, and our ultimate actions regarding those things are not neutral.