1 Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers."
Today I’d like to tell you about 5 simple steps to become a better Christian, simple things that can fit into your day, things you can do that will make a real difference. The problem is that they simply don’t exist! It is good to see God at work in your life. It is good to see God and the power that can accomplish all things. It is good to see the wicked perish and good triumph. And yet, even if we see all these things – we can still have problems with faith.
Consider Elijah, the prophet of God – it’s a story that begins with a drought, no rain, not even a dew – because Ahab King of Israel, did more to provoke God that all the Kings of Israel before him. And God spoke to Ahab through Elijah, and said there would be no rain, until Elijah said so, and then Elijah departed to the wilderness east of the Jordan, by the brook Cherith, and the ravens fed him, but the drought dried up the brook, and so God sent him to a widow in Zeraphath, and God made it so that there was always enough flour and oil, so that there was bread for the whole household. After some time God came to Elijah and sent him back to Ahab, to tell him that the end of the drought was near – and it happened in this way. He had all the false prophets gather, and they were to offer a sacrifice and pray to God, and whichever God was the true God would receive the sacrifice, and would send fire from heaven to consume it. And the false prophets did all manner of things – but nothing happened. And then it was Elijah’s turn – and he had the people pour water over the sacrifice, and the altar and the wood, not once, but 3 times – until everything was drenched, so much so that there was a pool of water around the altar – and Elijah prayed, and God sent fire to consume the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust and even the water was consumed. And then Elijah had all the false prophets rounded up, and he killed them with the sword. And then Elijah prayed, and God sent rain, and Ahab reported all these things to Jezebel the queen, and she said, Elijah would be dead by this time tomorrow – and then Elijah ran away.
And this is where we meet him – he is no better than his fathers, for just like his fathers, he had seen the power of God, but his faith was still weak. Elijah was not alone – Peter also saw the power of God in Jesus, and his response was – Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.
Which brings us back to why I can’t tell you about 5 things you can do, for a better life – because, when it comes to God and faith, it is not about what you do – it is about what God does. This is what God does, he forgives sins. Elijah confesses his sins, he says he deserves to die. God had sent the Ravens to feed him, God sent the starving widow to feed him, God gave him the power to raise the dead, God gave him the power to destroy the enemy, God gave him the power to end the drought – and still he had weak faith, though he had seen all these things, he could still see his own sin. But God didn’t destroy Elijah, nor did he take his life, instead he sent an angel to bring him bread – a bread of great strength – a bread that kept Elijah for 40 days and 40 nights.
What is that bread – and how can we get some? That is what our Gospel lesson is about – there Jesus tells us that He is the Bread of life. If you see your sins, you see the need for your savior. If you don’t see your sins – well, do you know anything about grumbling?