Jump Start # 2164
Matthew 10:42 “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward.”
I was thinking about this passage the other day. What was accomplished doesn’t seem very significant. We tend to think in terms of numbers and volume. What would impress us would be someone who arranged for a truckload of bottled water to be delivered. Take care of hundreds would be impressive. Organize, facilitate, big, big, big.
But, here in our verse, it comes down to just a cup of cold water. One cup. One cup helping one person. Heaven noticed that. Heaven rewards that effort done. One person. One cup. It didn’t change a nation. It didn’t change a city. It didn’t rewrite history. It helped one person.
Now, stretch that thought out and consider some applications.
A preacher works hard on a lesson and pours his heart into it. It’s a rainy Sunday evening, and the crowd is small. The preacher goes home wondering if he did any good. Those thoughts take him even deeper in discouragement. He wonders if he is ever doing any good. He even wonders, what’s the point. The week ends, and he must work on more sermons for the next Sunday. He wonders if it will be the same. He doesn’t know if he can do this for a lifetime. The hours of study, and preparation that he pours into his sermons seems to be a lost cause.
A class is taught at the congregation and only a few show up. It’s the same feeling. Someone has a home Bible study, and only a handful show. It’s the same feeling.
But then, our passage comes to mind. It’s not about numbers. It’s about helping one person. Just a cup of cold water. That sermon preached on a Sunday night to a small crowd may seem like a waste of time, but there may have been that one soul who was touched and changed. There may have been that one young man who became inspired to stand where the preacher was standing.
We tend to lean toward the big side of things. Big crowds. Big classes. Big is always better we tend to think. We look at Jesus teaching multitudes, but then we are reminded of the preacher who left Samaria, where multitudes were responding to his preaching to go talk to one Ethiopian on a deserted road. One cup. One person. One soul.
I remember reading about the career of some old time preacher and he was said to have baptized 15,000 in his lifetime. I can’t say that. I can’t get close to that. It’s like comparing my little league career with Babe Ruth. There is no comparison. Numbers again. With this thinking, a preacher who leaves a small church for a larger church has made the correct corporate move. He’s moving on up, as was sung on the old TV show, Jefferson’s. Maybe he has financially, but don’t forget that one cup concept.
Helping one person is valuable to God. That one Bible study. That one lunch to listen to someone. That one conversation that encourages. That one on one with someone. Don’t overlook the good that can be done nor feel that this has been a waste of time because you only helped one. There is an old story about a guy walking along the beach that was covered with starfish. He’d bend down pick one up and toss it back into the water. There were hundreds of starfish on the beach. Someone watching this said, “Do you think you’ll make any difference? There are so many.” The man tossed one more in the water and said, “I just did to that one.”
So, three things come from our passage.
First, we must recognize who needs a cup of cold water. I must have my eyes open to those who are hurting. I must understand that some won’t say anything. There are those who actually need cold water. Others need refreshing encouragement. Others need to beneficial help of a friend. It does little good to take cold water to someone who is not thirsty.
Second, we must know where to find cold water. It’s one thing to see needs, but here is someone who is doing something about it. He wasn’t screaming at the government to do something. He was complaining that the church ought to be doing more. He wasn’t organizing a work party to take care of the needs. He found a cup and knew where cold water was and he did it himself. Cold water comes in being able to listen to someone. Cold water comes in the form of encouragement and support. Cold water is found in the Gospels. Paul told the Thessalonians to “comfort one another with these words.” God sent Titus to Paul to refresh his spirit. Philemon was sent a nice letter from Paul, encouraging him to do the right thing. Cold water comes in many fashions. Do you know where to find it?
Third, from the text it seems that Heaven recognized what was done, but the giver of cold water didn’t seem to blow his trumpet, tell others, or seek recognition. He did what he was supposed to do. He did what he could. He didn’t bring a bottle of Coke. He didn’t take care of tomorrow’s water supply. Just one cup. Just a moment of relief. And, he could have ruined the moment by thinking, I did something and you didn’t. He could have returned to his place of worship and told others what he did and made them feel bad. He didn’t do any of those things. He offered a cup of cold water and went on his way.
I expect years later, the man forgot about giving a cup of cold water. His kind, and his nature, he has probably done that dozens and dozens of times. He didn’t keep track. He just did what he could. Now, the man who needed the water, he may never have forgotten the kindness. Years later the two may cross paths again. The one would remind the other of the wonderful day that water was given. The one would be surprised. He had forgotten all about that. And, that’s the way it ought to be. We don’t give one cup and feel that our life’s duty is over. We should be given cups here and there, all the time. We do it because we can. We do it because the Lord has done the same for us. We do it because we’d certainly want someone to do it to us if we were thirsty.
It is an odd encounter when someone thanks your for a cup of cold water you gave years ago and you don’t remember. They have never forgotten and I suppose they thought that you would remember as well. But you don’t. You have given so many cups to so many people, who are just thankful that the Lord has put you in a place where you can help.
This passage also shows that we need each other and that we need to care for one another. Without the cup, without the water and without a sharing heart that brought the water, someone would have been in a bad way. We need each other. We are there for each other. Some of us are thirsty and others are bringing water. The next time, the roles may change. And, once you have been given a cup of cold water, it makes you think of others that you can help. It changes you. You’ve had food brought to your house after a funeral. The next time there is a death, it makes you realize the good that is done and you jump in and bring your cup of cold water.
Such a simple verse. Such a powerful principle. Something we all could do. Not all of us can build a house. Not all of us could afford steak. Not all of us have room in our homes. But one cup of cold water, sure we can do that. All of us can do that.
And, that’s the idea.