Under a Tree

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Elijah was afraid and fled for his life, going to Beer-sheba of Judah. He left his servant there and went a day’s journey into the wilderness, until he came to a solitary broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death: “Enough, LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” He lay down and fell asleep under the solitary broom tree, but suddenly a messenger* touched him and said, “Get up and eat!” He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!” He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.

1 Kings 19:4-8

The first reading this past Sunday, from the First Book of Kings, had Elijah sitting beneath a tree, praying for death. He was so very weary from his struggles with King Ahab and the threat of Jezebel. He doubted his ability to perform the tasks God had asked of him. During sleep, God provided Elijah with sustenance for the journey. Without the food and water God provided, Elijah would not have been able to make it to Mount Horeb and continue the prophetic ministry set before him.

What has God called you to do? Do you really think He would ask something of you and not give you what was needed to complete the task? Perhaps an even more important question than that is who has God called you to help nourish through word and deed so that he or she may answer His call?

The story of Elijah informs us of the reality that God will always provide for us so that we may answer His call. An aspect of being a mature disciple is knowing that God always prepares us for the task at hand if we allow Him to work in our lives. However, the Body of Christ is an organism made up of beings that must rely on one another. We discern God’s call in community, and we respond with the assistance of the community. God provides assistance to us by using those He has created as instruments of His grace. If we are called to be the source of that nourishment for another, and fail to answer the call, then how will they be prepared for the task at hand? You may have the jug of water and hearth cake in your possession that another may need!

Good stewards not only answer the call God puts specifically on their lives, but they also are aware of what they need to do to help others answer their own callings. If we hold onto our gifts too tightly, we may be withholding what is necessary for another to become what God had called them to be. God does provide, and He has entrusted us to each other as channels of His grace. Today, be someone’s source of nourishment. Seek out those under trees who doubt they can answer God’s call. Hopefully, someone will one day return that kindness to you, because at times, we all find ourselves distraught under a tree.

This entry was posted in Discipleship, Engagement, Evangelization, Faith, Spirituality, Stewardship and tagged , , by Tracy Earl Welliver. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tracy Earl Welliver

Tracy Earl Welliver is the Director of Parish Community and Engagement for LPi and an active member of Saint Pius X Catholic Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he previously served as Pastoral Associate for 22 years. Saint Pius X received the Archbishop Murphy Award in 2009 from the ICSC. Tracy is a writer, speaker, and teacher in the areas of stewardship, engagement, catechesis, and strengths theory, and has worked with Catholic communities throughout the US, Australia, and New Zealand. You can read Tracy’s Everyday Stewardship column in LPi’s CONNECT!, a bimonthly lectionary-based liturgy preparation publication. His writing can also be read on his Nutshell Blog, The Main Thing Blog, and in contributions to Catholic TechTalk. He also serves on the faculty for the ICSC Stewardship Institutes. Tracy has theology degrees from DeSales University and Duke Divinity School. He has been married 23 years and he and his wife, Mariann, have 3 children.

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