"Make Me A Cake First"
By Anna Hoppe
"The jar of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of Jehovah" (1 Kings 17:16).
How refreshing is the narrative of Elijah’s visit to the widow of Zarephath! (1 Kings 17:8-16). What encouragement to us to "seek first the kingdom," knowing that God will never fail those who put their trust in Him! (Matthew 6:33).
It was a sad day indeed when the widow in that famine-stricken land went out to gather sticks with which to build a fire to prepare her last meal. What a test of her faith must have been the prophet’s words, "Make me a little cake first!" But as a reward for her obedience the handful of meal in God’s hand increased a hundredfold. "Her house did eat a full year" (margin). Till the famine was over, every meal in that home was a miracle. The supernatural was a daily occurrence. "The jar of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail," because in serving the prophet of God the woman sought first the kingdom.
The way of carnal reason has ever been to make a feast for ourselves first and to give God the leavings. The lesson taught by crumbling investments, financial losses, losses of position and prestige, reveals the unstableness of earthly things, but they whose first desire is the prosperity of the kingdom can even sign away the title to the old homestead, smiling through the tears, when the eye of faith can see "the title clear to mansions in the skies," the eternal habitation of God’s people.
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who shed His last drop of blood for us, is worthy of our "first love," of the first place in our affections and an abiding first place in our lives. Someone has said:
"Only one life,
’Twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ
It is in the putting of first things first that we invite the promised stream of God’s blessings, and though we may not be able to hold much, we can overflow! How often he has honored the faithfulness of those who were faithful "over a few things!" The widow’s cake in Elijah’s day and the widow’s mites in the Lord’s time of earthly sojourn are considered of sufficient importance to be inscribed by the Holy Spirit on the eternal records of the Bible.
"Give and it shall be given unto you," is as true today as when the inspired scribe penned the line (Luke 6:38). And it need not always be money. The love gifts of talents consecrated to the kingdom’s cause, the hands and hearts and willing feet ready at every call, the prayers of intercession holding up the prophet’s hand, these are as acceptable to the Lord of the church as was that first little cake to Elijah.
Moody once stated that the word "according" was God’s yardstick. "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:29). He who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think delights to honor the faith that surmounts earthly problems and brings heaven’s blessings down.
The past triumphs of the church are due, under God, to that undaunted faith of the pioneers who dared opposition, discouraging desertions, and poverty. Knights of the Cross they were, in the world but not of it, fired with enthusiasm for the extension of the kingdom, breaking barriers down.
Today we are called upon to arm with spiritual weapons for a new crusade. God has given us a spiritual ministry, and there is a widespread desire for divine enabling on the part of thousands whose faith in human power has been shattered. There are new fields to be entered and present ones to be cultivated and expanded. The Lord of the Church can still accomplish wonders through the medium of transformed lives that gladly and willingly give Him "the first cake."
Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to God alone,
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries, "It shall be done!"
True, there will be trials and tribulations, but God’s sure Word will continue to shine brighter and brighter until the dawn of eternal day. We are enjoined to bear one another’s burdens and He who has promised us the victory will supply conquering strength. His Word gives us a glimpse of the uncounted throngs of overcomers singing the praises of the Lamb through all eternity.
Having given our Lord our first cake, we may go in our work secure in the trust that He will provide the increase both for our temporal needs and for the advance of His kingdom.