Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Poor to make Others Rich

So [Elijah] 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.” And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” So she said, “As the Lᴏʀᴅ 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.” 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. For thus says the Lᴏʀᴅ God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lᴏʀᴅ sends rain on the earth.’” (1 Ki 17:10–14)

Bread for food also failed Elijah, that holy man, had he sought for it; but it seemed not to fail him because he did not seek it. Thus by the daily service of the ravens bread was brought to him in the morning, meat in the evening. Was he any less blessed because he was poor to himself? Certainly not. No, he was the more blessed, for he was rich toward God. It is better to be rich for others than for oneself. He was so, for in the time of famine he asked a widow for food, intending to repay it, so that the bin of flour did not fail for three years and six months, and the oil jar sufficed and served the needy widow for her daily use all that time also.

Ambrose of Milan, On the Duties of the Clergy 2.4.14

While Elijah became poor to make the widow rich, Jesus became poor for the sake of many (2 Co 8:9).
Note for 1 Kings 17:10–11, Orthodox Study Bible

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