A sign was posted on a telephone pole by the grocery store: “LOST DOG with three legs, blind in left eye, missing right ear, tail broken, and recently castrated. Answers to the name of Lucky!”
Perhaps you feel just about as “lucky” as that lost dog. Hobbling along. Impaired vision. Broken tail. Well, you get the picture. There was a woman in the Bible who also felt like she was out of luck and had nothing to give. But then God showed her how to fill up so that she could pour out. Her story is found in 1 Kings 17, and it begins with a man named Elijah.
Elijah was a good prophet who gave some bad news to a king named Ahab: “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1 NIV). God knew that news would not go over very well with the king, so He told Elijah to flee eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine east of the Jordan. For several months, Elijah drank from the brook and ate bread and meat delivered by ravens that God miraculously sent to feed him.
Sometime later, the brook dried up. Now, if God could supply meat and bread every day, He could have easily provided water. But God had a different idea. He sent Elijah to Zarephath to a Gentile widow who needed a miracle in her life.
When he arrived, he called out to the woman. “Excuse me, could you please bring me a cup of water and a cake of bread?”
“I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug,” she said. “I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die” (1 Kings 17:12).
Now that was a discouraged, empty woman! Have you ever been right there with her? You want to scream, “I don’t have anything to give! Ask someone else!” I’ve been there. Let’s keep reading.
Elijah had good news for her.
“Don’t be afraid,” Elijah said. “Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land’” (verses 13-14).
She went home and did what Elijah had told her. After she emptied her bowl and jar to feed Elijah, she went home to find the jar full of flour, and the jug full of oil.
She was an empty woman, but as she took what little she had to offer encouragement to another, God filled her up.
I call this the Bucket Principle. I believe that each of us is given a bucket of encouragement. As we dip out of our bucket of encouragement and pour onto others, God miraculously fills it back up.
Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).
Many times, we place a lid on our bucket of encouragement. I don’t have enough to give to someone else. I am drained dry, we moan. However, when we pour out, even in our emotional emptiness, God pours in and fills us back up.
What happened to the woman from Zarephath? “For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:16).
Dear Lord, I’m feeling rather empty today. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, show me someone I can encourage. Give me the words to say and the courage to say them. I pray that as I give encouragement to others, that You, Lord, will fill me back up. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Think of a time when you helped or encouraged someone else? How did it make you feel? Who is someone you can encourage today?
Leave a comment and give the name or initials of the person you’re going to encourage?
The most common way we encourage others is with the words we speak. Our words shape the lives of others, for good or for bad. If you want to become more of an encourager and less of a discourager, check out Sharon’s book, The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words We say Shape the Lives of Others. Also, you might like to take the 5-Day Taming the Tongue Challenge.
© 2022 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
I’m going to encourage Sammy my nephew. He feels left out and restricted because my parents are overprotective of him. He’s always felt dejected and stays home and absorbed himself with his cellphone.
This is a very timely message for me!! I have a new neighbor who just got over Covid! I will text her and get together with her!!
A powerful and welcome reminder. Thank you. I will pray for and encourage BM.
Thank you for your encouraging words. I find that if you encourage others it takes your mind off of your own problems and blesses you as well. I plan to encourage JC today. She has many illnesses in her family. God bless you abundantly!
Love in Christ,
Pray for Kathryn in a season of depression.
Thank you for this
I so needed this. Got COVID second time, it really did a number on my body, just can’t bounce back. Hit back to work yesterday, just spent, every morning, it’s a struggle to move, climb stairs, etc.
Dear Heavenly Father, please heal Ivelissr’s body, give her wisdom if there is something humanly possible to help her body heal. May You, Father, get all the glory. Your will be done. Please, Lord, give Ivelissr peace that comes only from You. We praise You, Lord! Thank You for loving us and sending Your, Wonderful Son, Jesus Christ to pay our punishment. It is in His Name we come to You Father.
I mean really amen. DB
When I read I want Gods message to stick like glue, but not to gooing so I will share. Love you Sharon my friend.
Thank you because I truly feel the way you described in this devotion. Empty and feel like I give to others and I enjoy it but feel empty and worthless because sometimes it seems as if no one cares.
This was such a good and timely word. I plan to encourage anyone God sends my way and specifically those I listen for. God thank you for loving me in so many ways!
Hi Sharon! Thank you for encouarging me again with your devotions today. Thank you so much!
Yes, i also have moments of feeling empty. I even felt nobody even cares for me. But in those moments I was reminded of the verses where GOD said …”I will talk to her in her valley and I will give back to her- her vineyards” …this is in Hosea chapter 2 verse 14-15. I can relate to that woman everytime i felt like I am in a valley of emptiness. But thanks be to GOD, He is always there to lift me up everytime i am falling. GOD will show-up to me in so many ways like words of encouragement from my past devotions, from my past journaling or from a surprise phone call from a relative or a friend. And just this morning, when i woke up…the words of GOD to me in my heart are …”I will not cause you pain without replacing it with joy” ……”I am coming to you soon”….i would love to believe GOD is already on His way to me because I’ve been waiting, and waiting and hoping for GOD for so many years now, 10 years. And in these 10 years I am always telling GOD in my prayer, “Dear LORD GOD, I am still waiting for You O LORD.”
And my life verse since I started waiting and hoping for GOD is Isaiah 40:31…”those who wait on the LORD will find new strength..they will soar on wings like eagle.” Thank You O LORD GOD for always being there whenever I am feeling empty. You never fail to deliver me from such emptiness O LORD. You always rain down words of encouragement to me. And in honor of those moments that GOD has been always saving me from emptiness I have composed 2 lines of worship song and I gave it a title ” I am Surrounded”
1st line: I am surrounded… by the words from Your lips, by the touch of Your hands.
2nd line: I am fully Surrounded.
I hope this also encourages us all.
Why are you waiting for something you already have? God is with you as you daily walk with Him.
Isa 41::10 says God is with you…. Are you praying for something you already have? Perhaps you should be thanking God that He IS walking with you every stop of your journey.
I will encourage my sisters as we are going through a rough time in our lives as a family. I want to encourage my co-workers and the 100’s of members I see today at work. Thank you for encouraging me again.
Lord help me to tame my tongue. I want to lift up even though I feel I have nothing left to give..
I love this! I will be praying for TG, soon to be TP.
I love this post. It was both funny and inspiring. I think I’m known as an encourager, but I also need encouragement. Thank you for this. I’m going to encourage the body of Christ by participating in an online Bible study today. God bless you sister. Gina
I will encourage my nieces, who are going through hard times. BNE and WNC
Friends of mine are suffering as their son committed suicide. I have been praying since receiving this news that God would give me words, songs and scripture I can share with them.
I am going to encourage Gayle…Debbie…Ricky and all that God brings to me…I am Thankful…Grateful & Blessed that God fills me to overflow and gives me the words & the way to encourage others on their journey in life…God Bless You Sharon as you encourage us…May God continue to use you as a true vessel of His Love Beautifully!
We have been doing 1st and 2nd Kings in my Bible Study and did these verses a few weeks ago. Very encouraging. Thank you.
I would like to send up prayers and encouragement for a friend J.T. She is going through some pretty bad health issues and could use the encouragement. Thank you!
Thank you. A very timely reminder to take the focus off myself and give to others….. I was having a little pity party lately. At school we have ‘star of the week’ for teachers…. I am going to encourage my colleague today. Thanks again
I will encourage my grandchildren today.
I pray God will encourage me when I hear the election results.
God help our country.🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
I will pray and encourage my husband❤️
M. Rowe, my mom & Glenis, a friend.
❤️ Timely reminder. Encouraging JR.
An internet friend of mine who is also a Christian we were messaging each other and I was telling him how far into Psalms I was in the Bible. Anywho he had mentioned how he has days where he may read more of the Bible some days and miss other days but always catches up. I wanted to open up so I also mentioned to him I felt that I have been experiencing some spiritual warfare as I have really been struggling with anxiety more than ever (even though I don’t miss a day of reading the Bible/Praying/Worshipping etc.)
A day earlier I had come across a Christian Influencer on Instagram who happened to recommend this instrumental artist to listen to that has amazing worship and prophetic instrumentals that help calm my anxiety a lot so I told my friend about said artist and he replied “Do you know what a positive influence you are?”
Here I was feeling like I was pouring from an empty cup and in turn I had helped my friend without even realizing it.