Matthew 10:42 (ESV) 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.”
The portion of this verse that caught my attention a few years ago was “because he is a disciple.” I thought that was so odd because I’d always heard others teaching as if this verse was talking about giving a cup of cold water to anyone. I’ve also been in churches where they had ministries called “Cup of Cold Water” which gave out water bottles at large sporting events.
Now don’t misunderstand me here there are plenty of other verses that talk of helping the widows and the orphans or the poor. But this verse specifically says “disciples“. That is just one odd verse, right? Nope. Look at these verses:
Matthew 25:35-40 (ESV)
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Mark 9:41 (ESV) For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
Hebrews 6:10 (ESV) For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.
2 Corinthians 8:3-5 (ESV)
3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will,
4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—
5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.
2 Corinthians 9:12 (ESV) For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.
1 John 3:17 (ESV) But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
We are to specifically be serving and supplying the needs of our brothers (and sisters) in the Lord.
- Will not lose our reward
- Shows love to Christ
- Will not be overlooked by the Lord
- Shows we have given ourselves to the Lord
- Shows thanksgiving to God
- If we do not, God’s love does not abide in us
We aren’t able to do this well unless we are part of a community of believers. Unless you are seriously fellowshipping and living out your life with other believers often their needs will go unnoticed.
Often it is easier to give some money to a ministry that will feed the hungry or help the poor than it is to actually be involved in ministry yourself. We believers tend to prefer the sanitized methods of helping others more to the real handing out cold water to a fellow believer. When it comes to helping those we know in the church often there are many excuses.
Judgement about how they arrived in their dire circumstances….
How you would do things differently ….
If only they would have listened….
That doesn’t mean we are to let believers sponge off others, that isn’t the point.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (ESV)
10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.
12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
So how might this understanding change your ministry to others, especially the brothers and sisters in the Lord?