“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42 NIV
I have just returned home from a weekend with my daughter and her family. Friday was my birthday and the kids wanted me to come celebrate it with them. My 10-year-old granddaughter Brianna made my favorite cake, with whipped crème and strawberries. Delicious!
While I was celebrating, some mischievous kids in Springfield were destroying our neighborhood. I have a friend staying with me for a couple of weeks. At four in the morning the police knocked on my door. It would have scared me half to death! The thing is that these kids hade smeared her car with eggs! What a sorry sight!
My friend has problems with reaction to chemicals and she could not take the car to get it washed because she might get a bad asthma attack. She asked around to see if someone would do her the favor. Can you believe it? Eight people turned her down! Finally, an 80-year old man took her car to get it washed!
When I heard this, my insides started to boil! How can it be, that even when people knew her problems, they didn’t want to do her the favor? While praying about this in my morning devotions, I was reminded of the story from last week, about the cup of cold water. (See my previous blog if you would like to download it.)
My thoughts also went to the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon of the Mount.
“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:41,42
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
The Romans could force the Jews do to whatever they needed done. Or they could take stuff they wanted. “Just give it to them,” said Jesus. “Give them double of what they ask!”
I was thinking of my friend’s situation. She just needed help with a car wash, and she offered to pay good money for it. Why did it hurt me so much to hear of the rejections? Because…
My “now gone to Heaven daughter” had cystic fibrosis. She had many challenges and she felt many rejections. The sorriest thing I heard her say was that she had found her not Christian friends to be more loving and supporting than those who confessed the name of Christ. That was very painful. We shed many tears together for the lonely life she had to live because of her limitations.
Eight years ago I was hit with cancer. The treatments have left me somewhat handicapped. I am an independent person. I’ve always loved to do things for myself and do things for others. Now I have to humble myself and ask for help. Every time I pick up the phone to call someone to ask for a favor, it’s humbling and I wonder what I will do if they say no. My friend tells me about MANY “no’s” she has received. Lots of times she has to sleep in her car because she is rejected when asking for hospitality. (She won’t have to sleep in the car now that she knows the address to my Princess Room!)
WHAT IS WRONG WITH US? “Practice hospitality” writes Paul to the Romans in chapter 12. In Hebrews 13:1,2 we read:
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
If Jesus would have asked for help with a car wash, would we have been too busy to help him? “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” That’s Jesus’ promise!
I prayed to God to forgive me for my insensitivities. I’m sure we don’t mean to hurt our neighbors; we’re just so busy with our lives that the “little ones” have to walk around with an empty cup!
STOP! Take a deep breath! Look around you. Who have you turned down in the last 24 hours? Next time, you could be the one needing a favor. You never know!
My independent-be-a-helper-stand-on-your-own-two-feet kind of life came to an abrupt stop in 2007. God is powerful! He could have healed me completely, but I have been left with some handicap. Maybe He wants me to humble myself and rely on others and maybe He wants me to experience what it means to be needy, so that my heart will be more compassionate.
I just wish the people my friend asked for help with a car wash would have been a little more compassionate.
Let’s live out the love of Christ.
Let’s be willing to give
even a cup of cold water!