Read: 2 Kings 4:1–14
God sent many prophets to his people who were separated into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. Some like Hosea and Elisha preached in the northern kingdom of Israel during the eighth century B C. Hosea was married and had children. He may have stayed close to home to preach his message. Elisha was an Old Testament prophet or missionary who went from place to place. He needed food and shelter wherever he preached. One of the places where he frequented was Shunem. A well-to-do woman began inviting him for a meal whenever he was in the city of Shunem and he always accepted her offer. She recognized that he was a holy man of God. She suggested to her husband that a room should be built and furnished just for this holy man of God whenever he came to Shunem. The room was furnished with a bed, table, chair and a lamp. Again Elisha gratefully accepted her invitation to stay whenever he came to Shunem.
We get our term mites from the New Testament story of the widow who gave her last mite. For someone in LWML, a mite has become any offering that is given for missions. It may be a sacrificial offering as the widow had given. Notice that the name of someone who came from Shunem was called a Shunammite just as someone from America is called an American. Also notice that the last syllable of Shunammite is the word MITE. What an example she is for us to follow!
She and her husband willingly shared meals and even added on to their home so that Elisha could be rested when he came to preach in Shunem. The verses tell us that the Shunammite woman was well to do and content with her station in life even though she had no children. Not having children was a problem for women in her society where children were expected to care for their aging parents. We may not feel “well to do” but compared to many women in the world today, we are rich. When we give our mites we are showing that we also are content to trust that God will provide for our needs. If we put her example in our modern day terms there are many ways to help our pastors and prospective pastors. She provided food, so we can provide funds or food for the seminary food bank. We can provide an ingathering of pantry items when a new vicar or new pastor arrives in our congregation. She respected him as a man of God just as we ought to respect and serve with our pastor as well as praying for him. She added a furnished room for Elisha just as LWML and our congregations ought to make sure that our local pastors and our foreign missionaries are given adequate salary to meet their needs in order that they can carry on their studies of the Word.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Holy Word which provides examples, like the Shunemmite woman, of how we should live. Give us contentment and the willingness to share what we have with others. We thank you for those who are called to serve in your ministry. Help us to recognize the needs of our pastors, future pastors and missionaries. And as we enter this new biennium, let us support all the new mission grant recipients with our prayers and mites. In your name and for your ministry, we ask these petitions. Amen.
Elisha and the ShunamMITE Woman
Risen Savior Lutheran LWML