The students will be able to tell how the widow exercised faith. They will further be able to explain why faith is a necessity in our lives.
Widows in the Old Testament were regarded as being under God’s special care. From early times they wore a distinctive garb. The Hebrews were commanded to treat them with special consideration and were punished if they did otherwise.
Zarephath was an Old Testament town remembered chiefly because Elijah resided there during the latter half of the famine caused by the drought. Its Greek equivalent, Sarepta, is mentioned in the Book of Luke where it is described as being in the land of Sidon. Here God miraculously sustained the prophet through the widow’s kindness. Ruins of the ancient town survive south of the modern village of Sarafand, about 8 miles south of Sidon, 14 miles north of Tyre.
There had been no rain in the land for some time. Jesus spoke of this incident to the Jews (Luke 4:24-26), noting that He had to go outside Israel to find one for whom He could perform a miracle during the drought. The Jews to whom He spoke understood that He was implying the same to them. God rewarded this faithful widow later in life by raising her son from the dead.
At the center of the Christian’s experience is that seed of faith whereby he first entered, and now continues in the Christian walk. Should a time of testing rob him of that faith, he is a pauper, and will remain so until it is regained. But the one who guards his faith as a treasure beyond value will persevere and triumph in every trial of life.
Take a small barrel with a little cornmeal and a vinegar cruet with oil in it. Show how it runs out when you pour. But still, day after day, there was meal and there was oil. God promises to provide for those who have faith to believe.
Have a little play. Give one child a candy bar and have him take the whole thing and say, “Well, there’s only one so I’ll eat it all.” Then do it again to another child. That child breaks it into pieces and gives to the others and then takes what is left for himself. Reward him with another candy bar for himself and explain that God’s blessing comes from giving to others first, and not from thinking of ourselves first.
Make three posters, one for each word—Others, Yourselves, and Jesus. Let the students decide in which order they should be. (Have the J, O, and Y a different color from the rest of the letters so they will stand out.)
To illustrate the need for faith in our everyday lives, bring to class small items which show we all have a degree of faith in the things we use every day: a letter ready to be mailed, a box of cake mix or a recipe, the key to our house or car, a camera. Or bring pictures of things too large to bring—electric lights, appliances. The choice is almost unending. Then explain that if we can have faith in man-made things, how much more should we have faith in the God who created all things. He never fails those who put their trust in Him.
Do a little play or skit, letting the students act the parts to illustrate family happenings: (a) some member of the family is sick and an anointed handkerchief or tract is brought to him. Or family gathers around to pray for him. (b) Several days yet till payday, the grocery money gone, and almost no gasoline in the car, but it is meeting night. Should we go, or stay home so Dad will have the gas to go to work? He said, “Let’s put first things first,” and they go to church. That night someone gave the mother an envelope with money, which likely would not have been received had they not gone to church. Emphasize that faith coupled with obedience—doing what we can—is always honored by God. (This was an actual happening.)