Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.1 Kings 17:2-6 NIV
Take a brief survey of the room you are in: how many things do you see? I’m sitting in a room with more books than I can count. I aspire to have the library in Beauty and the Beast. There are so many things that have been made, by someone, from something, in this space: a rug, a television, two recliners, a rocking chair, a desk chair, a desk lamp, a desk. Framed photos. Walls. A ceiling. I could go on.
And yet there are moments when I feel as if what I have is not enough. I want newer, better, shinier things.
Whatever I seek in the “thing” category has to be made from some other thing, some natural resource that means there is now less of it. In the moment of my “need,” I am prone to miss the interconnectedness of what it takes to acquire more, what “raven” had to deliver the meat and bread, what lamb had to sacrifice its body, what oil was pressed and flour ground to bake that loaf.
When I pause to consider what it is I think I need—new clothes, new styles, new books, new electronics—and what it takes to make that thing, sometimes, I realize maybe I don’t need this after all. Maybe my need is actually a want.
Through creation, God provides us with the things we need the same as he gave Elijah food and water in the wilderness. But there is an end to the resources. What is it that we actually need? May gratitude for the ways God meets those needs pour out of us in the form of generosity, conservation, and celebration.
Points of Reflection
- What are some of the objects in your home that you tend to replace or add to (like my giant book collection), and how might you address those wants in a more sustainable way (Sarah, borrow books from the library, seriously.)?
- What “ravens” has God sent to you in the past to meet your needs? Think about friends, family members, and even strangers, who have blessed you during a season of hardship. Consider telling someone that story today.
For the Kids
- What are some things you want? What are some things you need? How does God meet your needs?
- Choose an object in your home and see if you can figure out how it was made. Who made it? Where did the material come from? Did someone have to harvest that material? Is it something that can be regrown or replaced? When it is worn out, what will happen to it next?
If you’re anything like me, you have a running list in your brain of the things you’d like to have. I think that’s just fine. But some of the things on my list are definitely “nice to haves,” not “need to haves,” like a different style bar stool for my kitchen, or the latest iPhone just because it has fancier doo-dads. Identify an object or desire on your list of “nice to haves.” How might you make do with what you already have? If that isn’t possible, find creative ways to “upcycle,” buy something used instead of new, choose products that have been refurbished or made from recycled materials. Out of your gratitude for what you have, look for ways you can be a “raven” who helps to meet the needs of someone else.
Normally I make other book recommendations here, but today, I’d like to encourage you to read more from the Bible. The rest of 1 Kings 17 provides several more ways that God meets Elijah’s needs, and how Elijah then meets the needs of those who help him.