Financial Miracles for Widows
In studying God’s Word on financial miracles for widows, it’s evident that we serve a creative God. Each widow’s “testimony” that we will examine reveals God’s special love for those who suffer loss.
Our first example, Naomi, lost her husband and two sons while living in Moab (Ruth 1). She was depressed and had few possessions when she decided to take the 7- to 10-day journey back to Bethlehem, her hometown. God gave her a loving daughter-in-law who became her companion and provider. Within a short time, her lack was replaced by abundant resources and a renewed sense of purpose. Her miracle unfolded little by little, but God was orchestrating events in Naomi’s life even during the difficult years.
Widow number two was down to her last loaf of bread when her miracle came (1 Kings 17). Even though the famine was severe in Zarephath, she had enough food to feed her family and Elijah because she believed God’s word through the man of God. She experienced another miracle during Elijah’s stay when her son died and Elijah’s prayer restored the boy’s life.
The prophet’s widow in 2 Kings 4 was desperate. She had great debt, children to feed, and would soon loose her sons to slavery. She pled her case to Elisha and his instructions led to a miracle. Her only resource, a jar of oil, did not stop flowing until she filled many containers. The oil she sold paid her bills and supplied money for the family to live.
Jesus revealed God’s love for widows when He was traveling to Nain and encountered a funeral procession (Luke 7). A widow’s son had died, and Jesus’ heart of compassion compelled Him to raise the young man back to life. This widow’s sadness instantly turned to great joy. Her source of provision was restored.
In each of these incidents, God supplied both present and future needs. As widows, we have needs today, but with a shaky economy and price increases, our future needs seem huge. Since God does not change (Mal. 3:6), what He did for widows in biblical times, He can do for us today and in the future.
Living With Financial Realities
Dr. Ruth Kaunley
The cliche, “two can live as cheaply as one,” may be close to the truth, especially for a widow. One reality of life is that women usually live longer than men. This in turn means that at some point the widow will become the financial manager.
Some principles will aid in navigating these financial issues:
- Don’t rush into any major decisions. Day-to-day operations, such as paying household bills, must go on; however, major decisions need time to process. At the loss of a spouse there is less focus, energy, and clarity. This is not the time to make decisions with major ramifications. While you may feel an urgency to move quickly, it is best to move safely.
- Get a clear financial picture. A trusted financial advisor(s) or reliable friend can be very helpful. Be astute in choosing such a person or institution wisely, as this is a vulnerable time in which some would use your loss for their gain. Educate yourself as much as possible. Read, gather resources, and learn from others who have managed this area well to aid in planning and managing your resources effectively.
- Be conservative. Long-range plans will help establish short-term goals. The irrationality of grief sometimes may cause you to throw caution to the wind. We may give extravagant gifts or resources to help ease our pain or the pain of others. However, we will find spending money does not make it better; it only causes more concerns later. Planning for the future can get us moving on rather than digging a hole that is hard to get out of.
- Take care of you. Doing this will enable you to be in the best place to continue to honor God and bless others. You can do it.
Tips from Better Business Bureau
Your local Better Business Bureau works diligently to keep abreast of scams and negative trends that may affect the public. Following are some warnings from them, especially for widows:
- Home Repair– ask 3 to 4 companies for bids on the projects. Just because a company has the lowest bid, doesn’t mean they will do the best work. Ask for references, insurance and licensing. Get all promises in writing and keep a copy of the contract for your records. Don’t pay for the job in full until it is completed to your satisfaction.
- Telephone calls– If you receive phone calls asking for your social security number, bank account information or any other identifiable information, hang up the phone.
- Door-to-door Sales– Never let anyone in your home, speak to them on your front porch. Ask for information in writing for you to consider and get back to them if you are interested. Don’t be intimidated to make a purchase on the spot.
- Auto Repair– ask friends and family for a recommendation and stick with the same company. Ask to see the issue before repairs are done. Be sure company asks for permission before making any repairs so you aren’t hit with surprises on your bill.
- Email– never respond to an email asking for money. If an email claims to be from a family member or friend in distress, contact them directly to confirm the situation. Never send money for anything that you haven’t confirmed to be true.
For lists of BBB Accredited Businesses or to discuss a potential issue, call your local BBB and/or law enforcement if you have any questions about possible scams.
Dealing with Finance
by Doug Clay
As General Treasurer for our Fellowship, I’m often asked to speak on stewardship. Scripture gives us insight on how to be wise with what God has given us. After Zacchaeus sold his stock in greed and invested heavily in generosity (Luke 19), Jesus gave a financial seminar with one basic principle: It’s not how much you have but what you do with what you have. The parable teaches us that God expects us, widows included, to be good stewards.
A widow asked her caring pastor, “Where do I start? My husband handled our finances. I’m lost without him. I want to make sure our savings last . . . please help!” Fortunately, he directed her to a wise financial counselor who gave her the following advice:
- Don’t make rash financial decisions.
It may seem impossible to consider a normal future in your grieving process, but God will get you through. Learn what you can about your finances, keep your bills up-to-date.
- Seek help to develop a livable plan.
Take a careful inventory of your current assets and income and develop a standard of living that fits accordingly. Live within your means. Remember, when outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.
- Beware of predators.
Unfortunately, scams and con artists like to prey on widows. Don’t give money or your social security number out to people or entities that come calling on you . . . even if it sounds like a great deal.
- Connect with other widows.
Find some other trusted widows who have had to adjust to this new normal and consult with them.
- Not all family members are financial advisors.
Be careful . . . don’t just automatically turn your finances over to your children. They may provide good emotional support, but they may not provide the best financial support.
In Jesus’ parable of Luke 19, the nobleman, who represented Jesus, expected his servants to manage the money well while he was gone. The servants were given different amounts, but they knew the money and profits belonged to the nobleman. What they did with the money showed their attitude toward the nobleman. Attitude is more important than amount. Everything we have comes from God’s gracious hand. He expects us to use it wisely and gain dividends for the Kingdom.
Doug Clay serves as Treasurer for the General Council of the Assemblies of God