Charity Never Faileth by Elspeth Young

Charity Never Faileth


{ The Widow of Zarephath }
Paper prints & posters
High grade art reproductions available on high quality 9pt (100#) paper. Combined shipping available for most smaller sizes.
4" x 5.75"$4.1511" x 14"$25.0016" x 20"$52.0020" x 28.75"$94.00
5" x 7"$5.0012" x 16"$32.0016" x 23"$60.0024" x 36"$140.00
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18" x 25.75"$194.0020" x 24"$200.0022" x 31.5"$289.0030" x 40"$500.00
18" x 26"$195.0020" x 28.5"$238.0024" x 36"$360.0030" x 43"$538.00
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Other options including the original artwork, bookmarks, and limited edition prints.
Bookmark$1.50Original oil painting$5,710.00 Sold
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And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah...

And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.

1 Kings 17:15-16

The story behind Charity Never Faileth

The widow of Zarephath feeds the prophet of the Lord in faith during a famine that almost took her and her sons' life.  Because of her incredible faith, the Lord feeds her, her son, and Elijah "many days," providing for her throughout the remainder of the famine.  The painting itself depicts the fulfillment of the Lord's word to her because of her act of faith.

Perhaps as important a lesson as any we can glean from this account, is that the Lord fulfills His promises.  This painting seeks to express the joy that awaits all who trust in the Lord and lean not unto their own understanding (see Proverbs 3:5).  Indeed, the faithful will always find that no matter the circumstances, "charity never faileth" (1 Corinthians 13:8 and Moroni 7:46).

Symbolism in Charity Never Faileth

Later in the account of this faithful widow, Elijah raises her son from the dead in an "upper room."  Such rooms are believed to denote wealth, and so it is likely that this widow was wealthy before the famine.  Indeed, perhaps she was still surrounded by the signs of outward wealth, like the carpet on the stone wall behind her or the rich robes and jewelry she wears even when she and her son were starving.  This painting also teaches us that money does not spare us from spiritual "starvation."  It is only charity which never fails.  If we rely on anything other than the Savior and His Restored Gospel to save us, it will eventually come to naught.  As an angel teaches King Benjamin in The Book of Mormon, "there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ..." (Mosiah 3:17).  If, like this widow, we trust in the words of the prophets, heed their counsel, and rely upon the Savior's infinite Atoning sacrifice, we will always find within us a "well of water springing up into everlasting life" (see John 4:14).

The woman holds a "cruse of oil" (the Hebrew for cruse, tsappachath, translates as "saucer").  Near the figure is the "barrel" of meal whose contents were also miraculously extended.  Both are a visual representation of the Lord's love, or charity.

When the widow goes to gather "two sticks" with which to fuel the fire for her last meal, she meets the Prophet who directs her to make him "thereof a little cake first," with the Lord's promise that she and her son will survive the famine.  Likewise, if we willingly give the "little" that the Lord asks us in tithing first, the windows of Heaven will provide for us both temporally and spiritually.

Bibliography

Freeman, James M. Manners and Customs of the Bible. New York: Logos International, 1972.

Hepper, FN. Baker Encyclopedia of Bible Plants: flowers and trees, fruits and vegetables, ecology. Leicester, England: Inter Varsity Press, 1992.

Matthews, Victor H. Manners and Customs in the Bible. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991.

Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. New York: Abingdon Press, 1890.

© By Elspeth Young, All Rights Reserved. You may not print, copy, or reproduce this artwork or make derivative works from it without the prior written consent of the copyright holder. For permissions, please review our FAQ page.



From the Newsroom


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Illustration: Charity Never Faileth

By Al R. Young
High-resolution digital copies are available from the Studios for use as illustrations.  Use the serial number—appearing below the thumbnail—in requesting permission from the Studios (see links at the bottom of this page for detail).


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