Down and out.
That is how life was for the two widows in our stories today.
The woman in Zarephath was preparing what she thought would be her last meal.
The woman in Nain was burying her son and, being a widow and unable to inherit from her son, she was facing immediate homelessness.
This was as down and out as anyone could be.
When such circumstances crash in on people today they might have family supports to carry them through, they might have access to some Social Security safety net income, but they might not – and for them life is very tough.
But the story emerging from these two tales is one of hope.
Firstly they encourage is to trust that God will provide.
I have seen communities in which this encouragement has expanded into what we might call a “Prosperity Gospel” – if we pray the right way God will give us what we ask for. I don’t think either of these women became rich beyond their wildest dreams. But in their desperate need, God became present in Elijah and Jesus to meet their need give them a new way forward.
The second thing emerging from these stories is the encouragement to be content with what God has given us. This is very hard in our modern consumer society – we grow up being taught that we can do anything we aspire to and that if we work hard enough we can get anything that we want.
It becomes really hard for us to even imagine what enough is let alone be content with enough. I would dare to suggest that “enough” is probably far less than you currently think you need in life.
But these stories encourage us all to trust that God will make sure we have enough.
I know that some of you think of our church here at Holy Cross as a “little church”. Sometimes we feel desolate about the future of the church because we have become so small. But I want to encourage you to trust that God will ensure that we have ENOUGH.
You may remember that parable of the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with a bag of flour until the whole batch of dough rises.”
If we are to trust that God will make sure we have enough, we also have to trust that in God what we do have is enough to be the Kingdom of Heaven in this place.