‘One day Elisha went to the town of Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she urged him to come to her home for a meal. After that, whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for something to eat’ – 2 Kings 4:8 NLT.
The essence of Christmas is giving although for many it’s more about receiving. God gave Jesus so that anyone, anywhere through faith could find forgiveness and a better future. Today’s Teaching is about the Shunnamite lady whose actions unknowingly changed her future. Read 2 Kings 4:8-37 and 8:1-6 to discover the whole story.
- Her Generosity
Not only did she manage to persuade Elisha to stop for a meal whenever he was passing but she got her husband to agree to spend some money. Wives have a knack of doing that! ‘Let’s make a little room for him on the roof; we can put in a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, and he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by’ – v10 TLB. She gave wanting nothing in return, ‘Generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity’ – Isaiah 32:8 NLT.
- God’s Promise
Two promises stand out in the Bible concerning generosity. ‘When you help the poor you are lending to the Lord—and he pays wonderful interest on your loan!’ – Proverbs 19:17 TLB.
Jesus also taught, ‘If you welcome a prophet because he is a man of God, you will be given the same reward a prophet gets. And if you welcome good and godly men because of their godliness, you will be given a reward like theirs. And if, as my representatives, you give even a cup of cold water to a little child, you will surely be rewarded’ – Matthew 10:41-42 TLB.
Although she was not looking for a return on her giving, unknowingly she had released God’s blessing which would change her life and secure her future.
- Her Reward
After a few visits Elisha wanted to know the reason for her generosity but there was no ulterior motive. It was Elisha’s servant Gehazi who said, “She is old but does not have a son”. In response Elisha pronounces a prophet’s blessing that changed her life in four different ways.
She received a son
This was what she wanted but had never asked him. She had given up ever becoming pregnant, as shown by her response, ‘Do not lie’ – v16, when Elisha promised her a child. One year later she was holding a beautiful baby in her arms!
She received a healing and resurrection from the dead
When only a few years old, her son collapsed and died. This crisis made her immediately go and find Elisha to demand his intervention. She presumed it was God’s judgment of her sin but Elisha soon put paid to that wrong thought by raising him from the dead.
She received advance warning of impending disaster
Elisha warned her about a severe national famine that would last seven years, urging her to move to another country in order to survive. She was obedient and so saved her family from certain hardship or even death.
She received the restoration of land, property and proceeds
There is an amazing end to her story. After the famine she returns to make an appeal to the king to get her land back. The King had been asking Gehazi to tell him some of the miraculous exploits that Elisha had done. At the very moment he is mentioning this woman’s miracle, she arrives at the palace and is able to confirm what Gehazi had just said. The timings of God are amazing and it proves He knows the end from the beginning! The King granted much more than just her land and property back, he included the proceeds generated while she had been away.
Ask anyone if they would like God to bless them and the chances are they would say, “Yes!” I have proved this doing evangelism. After talking with a seemingly uninterested person, before we part I ask, “Can I pray a blessing on you and your household?” Most say, ”Yes” and the surprise on their face after prayer speak volumes. It touches their heart that God wants to bless them.
Yes, everyone wants to be blessed but the question is, “Are you willing to give God something to work with that will change your future?” This is not trying to buy a blessing but allowing God to release His blessing in response to your generosity.
The key for this Shunnamite lady was when she said to her husband, “I know that this is a man of God”. Perhaps this Christmas you can start giving in a way that allows God to release His blessing into your life. Who knows what return on your gift will come in the future?
’Everyone must make up his own mind as to how much he should give. Don’t force anyone to give more than he really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes’ – 2 Corinthians 9:7 TLB.
Have a blessed and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year!