There is in each of that tendency toward selfishness that always seeks justification or even just rationalization. All you have to do is listen to the world economic crisis discussion, and scratch the surface of many people's solutions and you we see, self- interest.
This is what makes the widow of Zarephath so remarkable. She is literally about to starve to death with her child and yet she is able to overcome her own survival instinct and the maternal instinct in order to assist a man who is fundamentally a stranger.
Because we know how it turns out, we have a tendency to under value the depth of her sacrifice. We dismiss it as something in "Bible World" and forget what real life was like back then. It becomes just another bible story rather than a model for our moral choices.
As we all talk about what needs to be done to fix the economy, where do we fit the example of the widow?