There are many paradoxes mentioned in scripture. They are things that according to our logic, would be nonsensical, but according to the perspective and wisdom of God, they are imperative. An example of this is found in Matthew 18:4 in discussion about who will be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven: “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In any physical kingdom, this is not the case. We do not see children being esteemed as the most important in a nation, but usually those that serve sacrificially or in leadership positions. In the Kingdom of God, however, our aim should not be on being the greatest, but the most effective servant that we can. Many of these paradoxes are found in scripture, but one of the most useful if found in a few illustrations of those will only a little being used to serve the most.
One example of this is found in 1 Kings 17:8-16, “Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 So she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ ” 15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.”
God was able to not only care for His prophet Elijah in this text, but also providentially the widow and her son. It seems that they were down to their last meal, but God used the very little they had to do wondrous things. The application for us is that looking at what possessions, wealth, or even skills and talents we have, it may not be much in comparison to others around us. But when we are using those things to the glory of God, they are more than enough. We will continue this discussion next week.