And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. –Matthew 10:42
Nothing quenches the thirst like water. Sports drinks, fruit juices, sodas, and coffee provide the body with flavorful refreshment, but when the body thirsts, true satisfaction comes only from water. In the poignant reflection, A Severe Mercy, author Sheldon Vanauken candidly shares the story of the deep, bittersweet love he shared with his wife, Davy. In the beginning of their relationship, they defined a symbol of courtesy toward each other–a cup of water in the night–a courtesy that represented the selfless love one had for the other.
Giving a cup of cold water to another is both simple and inconvenient. If you are like me, you love the comfort of a warm bed. You likely have a favorite pillow, blanket, or certain types of sheets that once wrapped around you are equal to a warm embrace. When I am this comfortable, I don’t like to get out of bed for a cup of water for myself, let alone for someone else. Yet the simple act of leaving your personal comforts to care for the needs of another demonstrates the love Jesus shared with us when He left the ultimate comfort and joy of heaven to live life here on earth.
In the above passage, Jesus explains that no act of kindness, no matter how small, goes unnoticed or unrewarded when it is done in His name. In the book of Matthew, Jesus shares the story of the sheep and the goats, illustrating the difference between those who care for the simple needs of others and those who choose to look away. In Eugene Peterson’s Bible paraphrase, The Message, he conveys Matthew 25:40 in this way, “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me–you did it to me.”
Serving another person is often inconvenient. It takes time, energy, personal resources, and sometimes, personal discomfort. It is so much easier to look away and to assume someone else will do it. However, Jesus invites us to serve Him by caring for the needs of others. Today and everyday the invitation remains. How will you respond?
Identify one person you can serve today. Make a personal sacrifice to do so.
Matthew 25:31-46; Colossians 3:17