The farmer does not wait until he is hungry to plant the seed. He sows it early and regularly so his harvest is there when it is needed. It is important to understand that a farmer would not usually eat his seed because he knows it has more value if it is planted. “I don’t have anything to give,” was what the widow told Elijah. But he told her the key to her provision was to first sow a seed of what she had.
“As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “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.” Elijah said to her, “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.’” (1 Kings 17:12-14 NIV).
This precious widow followed Elijah’s instruction to give first, and then God provided a steady stream of provision for her and her family. Many of us are like this widow, she did not even realize she had a seed to sow until Elijah pointed it out. So give first.
Can you imagine the newspaper headline Elijah would have received if this event happened in the present time we live. Something like “Greedy Prophet Manipulates Women for Personal Gain”. However it was the spiritual truth of giving and sowing that Elijah was teaching this woman and it brought a breakthrough in her life. God’s economy is sometimes opposite of what people think around us so it takes courage and wisdom to see it work for us. I am just saying…give first.