I have been reflecting on the many instances, during years of travel and of ministry, when Ron and I were given a “cup of cold water”. Of course the context within which I am thinking of this “cup of cold water” is the one where Jesus was instructing his disciples about how things work within His kingdom.
The story is found in the Gospel of Matthew, near the end of the 10th chapter. Jesus has ended an instruction session with his disciples by stating that “..if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” The wider scope of Jesus’ teaching in this chapter is still more amazing because He tells them that “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives the One who sent me.” That is extraordinary! And if that were not enough to cause our jaws to drop, He goes on to say: “Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.”
When I think of all the spontaneous acts of kindness shown to us by different people who never thought of themselves as deserving attention, who never imagined that
their little “cup of cold water” merited any notice or thanks, it brings tears to my eyes and conviction to my heart. There is the remembrance of the little “bag lady” who, out of her love for the Lord and her desire to help us, collected pop cans and turned the earnings gained into a contribution for our ministry. Little things DO matter —- a LOT! Remembering more of those “cups of cold water” – a meal shared, time taken to listen to our concerns, encouraging feed-back to our attempts at ministry, a place to spend a night, a ride to the airport, godly advice, a Scripture verse spoken with love, intercessory prayer, a warm smile, risking personal difficulties for our sakes in a foreign land, a hug when words just don’t work –on and on I could go.
While I can remember many such “cups” given by various individuals, I know I have also forgotten many. But none of those lost to my memory are overlooked or forgotten by our all-seeing, all-knowing God. Those dear folks will surely not lose their reward-though I may have forgotten them- because the Lord Jesus will make good on his promise. He said “he will certainly not lose his reward.” What a joy to think of their receiving their reward from His loving hand!
Lastly, it is heartening to me to realize that the little “cups of cold water” that He may have prompted me to give to others along the way-though I have forgotten them- have also not been overlooked by the Lord. I wasn’t thinking about rewards – but He chooses to give them. The greatest reward possible to receive, and the one to which I do aspire, is to hear Him say at last: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”