Monday, 18 March 2013

Matriarchs on a Monday - The Shunammite Woman {Part 1}

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

I do not know just where to begin and end with this godly woman.  There is SO much to learn from her, that I am going to refuse, yes REFUSE, to deal with it in one blog post. What an immense joy it has been to read through the vents of her life, and the myriad of lessons I have learnt as I read.

We know nothing of her early life, until Elisha meets her.  From that day in, the twists and turns - the highs and lows - the blessings abundant - seem not to cease.

So, how do we first meet this wonderful lady?

Elisha was passing through Shunem, and she

"constrained him to eat bread".
II Kings 4:8

She insisted that he should stop and eat, and she desired to provide for him what she perceived that he had need of.  He was passing through Shunem regularly enough that she had observed his coming and going.  She knew, also, that he was a prophet of God - a man of God.  Her heart was constrained to emet a physical need for him - something that she could provide.

This was not where her generosity ended, though.  After feeding him on a regular basis, she felt it would be sensible to build him a "prophet's chamber".  It was just a little room, built onto the side of their home.  It had only the basics, but everything he would need - a bed, a table, a stool and a candlestick. He simply needed somewhere to rest, in the midst of his journeying.

And, she wanted to meet that need.

It's a simple truth, but one which I know is most certainly NOT always put into practice.

If we see others who have a need we can meet, MEET IT!

There is nothing too simple.  Nothing too basic.  Nothing that is not "important" enough.

If you see that someone else needs something, and it is within your power to meet that need, then just DO IT.

We're talking about a MEAL here.  And, I would hazard a guess, that, in a post-drought and famine torn land, it was not the fatted calf that was offered up, every time he passed through.  It was far more likely to be something on the scale of the Widow of Zarapheth.  A simple meal of bread or meat.  Just enough to meet the need that Elisha had - a need for sustenance as he went about the work that God had called him to do.

Are there people in your life that have needs that YOU could meet, just as simply as this woman did?  Single, elderly or struggling people in your Church, who would love to have a meal provided for them by someone else?  How little would it cost you to make just a wee bit extra for someone else?  Make what you have go a bit further, to meet the needs of others?

Maybe it's not food?  Maybe it's clothes you no longer need - toys your children just have too many of already - things for the home that would help someone as they try and furnish a place for themselves - books you have read, and would benefit another to read as well.  The list is varied and endless - there are many needs, and many ways to meet them.

What about your home?  Are you given to hospitality, not only in the sense of providing a meal, but to have people to stay.  I know that this couple went to the time, effort, energy and money to BUILD somewhere to accommodate Elisha.  However, are you willing to let others stay with you?  Make sure you have a spare bed - even if it's tucked into a space you need to use for something else.  Have you got space you DO use for something else, but it could be better used for having available to look after others?  Are you even willing to OFFER to have those to stay who have a need?  A visiting preacher in your Church - a missionary passing through - a relation of a Church member who needs somewhere to stay when visiting?  Are you WILLING?  That's the question.

I know that some people don't have a spare room.  We didn't have one in our last house, so we would give up our own room to accommodate others.  we weren't being martyrs - the joy of having someone to stay far outweighed any relocation we had to do!

In our current home, we now have a spare room, and plenty of space.  We have had many, many people to stay since our move, and it's our joy to have them in our home.

It's a privilege to offer up your home to others - to show them kindness, to be of help and to show the love of Christ in your willingness to have them to stay.  Remember what the Lord said?  If you show kindness to others, you are showing it to HIM..  Doing all for Jesus.  That should be our motivation.

The last thing I want to note is this.  They respected a man of God.  They wanted to do all they could for him, BECAUSE he was a prophet.

Do you respect and show love towards your own pastor?  To those in the Lord's work?  Do you try and find ways in which you can encourage and them?  Do you pray for them?  Do you try and help them out in practical ways?  Do you remember that they are busy trying to study sot hat they can teach you from God's Word, and so any other things you can help them with will free up their time to study and prepare?

I am particularly blessed.  I am MARRIED to my pastor, so it's my joy to help him in every way I can, so he can focus his mind upon the Word.   If I give him extra things to think about, by having wrong attitudes, or not getting on with my role in the marriage, then I will not be helping him in his role as a Pastor and Preacher.

This godly couple loved and respected Elisha.  They saw the needs that he had, and they did ALL they could to help him out.

We need to have that same giving attitude.  One that LOOKS for a need and does all it can to meet it.  For ANYONE that the Lord brings into our lives.

Look for the need, today, and do all you can to meet it! Better still - teach your children to have the same giving spirit, and the blessing will carry on to the next generation.

I'll come back to this woman next week, God willing - there is still SO much to learn from her. 

1 comment :

  1. We were truly blessed to have people over frequently in Europe. We had space for it. Large amounts of people would come for meals and even weekends. It was so much fun.

    Since being here, we have entertained a few times. Our home is much smaller here than overseas. I love having people over. It's a gift. I do think, however, I have failed miserably at being hospitable lately. :(