Stepping Out In Faith

March 18  Stepping Out In Faith


And she said, "As the Lord You God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, 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, "Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it. and bring to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son." 1 Kings 17:12, 13, RSV.

And she did! But neither her meal nor her oil ran out until the famine ended. The Widow of Zrephath had stepped out in faith, and God had rewarded her.

Joseph Bates had several similar experiences. By the age of 36 he had accumulated enough money to retire. But by the end of 1844 he had given nearly all of it to further the Millerite mesage. His generosity positioned him where he also would have to step out by faith.

That thought brings us back to his little books. He found that it was easier to write them than to pay to get them published. Thus it was in the fall of 1847 that he sat down to write a book of more than 100 pages with only 12 1/2 cents in his possession.

Just before he went to the printer his wife asked him to buy some flour. But having only 12 1/2 cents, he could buy only four pounds. She, not knowing his circumstances, asked how it was that a man who had sailed ships around the world had come home with only a little flour.

At that point he told her two things. First, that he had used all his saivings. And, second, that he was writing another book on the Sabbath.

The news really frustrated her. After all, she hadn't even accepted the Sabbath. As Bates put it, "she does not comprehend my duty." As usual, he told Prudy that God would take care of them.

And He did!

Soon after that, he felt  impressed to go to the post office, where he found $10 in the mail. With it he was able to buy sufficient groceries and at least think about producing the book.

But even then he arrived at the printer without enough money, only to discover that someone else had already covered the publishing expenses.

Faith or foolishenss? 

That remains a crucial question in our day. God continues to bless those who step out in faith. And He still at times uses others as His agents in "paying the bill."

It was in reference to this spirit and practice that Jesus said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." That is, do not set yourself up as a standard. Do not make your opinions, your views of duty, your interpretations of Scripture, a criterion for others and in your heart condemn them if they do not come up to your ideal. Do not criticize others, conjecturing as to their motives and passing judgment upon them(TFMB, 124).