Most of us have a long list of financial commitments which counterbalance our regular income with essential outgoings. By time we have paid our utility bills, insurance premiums, tax obligations and much more, we often feel reluctant to commit ourselves to additional, voluntary commitments to charities or churches.
The Old Testament shares a charming story of a woman who one day invited Elisha (the man of God) to supper. At the end of their meal she extended the invitation by offering to feed him any time he was passing by - which he accepted. In the course of time she extended the invitation further, offering Elisha and his assistant a bed for the night. Then, after they had become frequent house guests, she extended her invitation further still by building and furnishing a guest room especially for Elisha, which he was welcome to use at any time.
No doubt this was a great help to Elisha as he sought to carry God’s call for justice around ancient Israel. And was also, no doubt, a significant commitment for the woman and her husband - in both money and time - for many years. Their commitment was noted by God, who blessed the couple with a long-hoped for son in appreciation for their generosity.
God notices when, in addition to our unavoidable financial commitments, we commit ourselves to some cause or causes that lie near the heart of his care for the world. It may stretch our budgets at times, but - if we choose carefully - the world will be a better place for our commitment, and God will smile.