41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Mat. 10:41-42
Many of my posts originate from my dealings with people, and especially my family. So it was that the other day I was doing a certain chore when my daughter Keren came out to help.
We hadn’t gone too far when I began berating her for not doing the job as I wanted it done. Now, don’t mistake it here: I firmly believe in rebuking and disciplining a child, and that as parents we should teach our kids to do things correctly. But on this particular day, it was not about correction: it was about thanklessness – thanklessness on my part.
My daughter had come out to help, with a good heart and, in any case, the job was pretty straightforward and mundane; no professionalism was required. But I had this hawkish look about me and the minute she made a mistake, I ‘jumped’ her.
A moment of awkward silence passed after I had scolded her. The very next instance we both burst out laughing uncontrollably. The same thought hit us simultaneously (Keren and I are always on the same telepathic wavelength).
It had suddenly occurred to us that I had been hit by the ‘ingrate’ bug – again. The ‘ingrate’ bug is a bug that we have so named in our family because once this bug bites you, you can find no good thing in other people. Nothing to thank them for, no matter the good they have done for you. This is a bug that regularly rears its ugly head in my family, attacking one or the other of the members of my family. Normally, this bug’s attack ends with a good laugh for everyone, but sometimes the situation is serious enough to require pastoral intervention! I happen to be the pastor in the house, so I solve all the cases. But sometimes the bug bites me also, and in those moments when I am bitten, I allow only my kids to referee. My wife knows too many things about me and, in any case, given the opportunity, she tends to spill more beans than are needed. So whenever I am in the wrong, I make sure she does not get the opportunity to talk.
Of course, it is impossible to prevent an express train like my wife to absolutely not to talk, so I have designed small defence (read survival) tactics to make sure I remain safe. Like, I allow her to talk for about 30 seconds then I ‘humbly’ interject with a very holy-sounding, “Yes, Joe… you wanted to say something??”
Joe, by the way, is always on my side. And once he begins talking, there is no stopping him. Case closed.
Anyways, the other day with me and Keren, it was a light one, no pastoral intervention needed, and we ended up laughing and laughing. After the laughter, there was only silence as we continued with our work. During the silence, I began thinking about God. It was then that the above scripture came forcefully into my spirit. I had never seen this scripture the way I saw it that day: that God will thank, or reward us for giving so much as a “cup of cold water only” to one of his servants! The heart of God that I saw here shook me. It was an impossibly thankful heart.
In Africa, many households, particularly in the rural villages, are dirt-poor. Sometimes there is not even food for the family, and sometimes there can be nothing to give to a visitor. But a cup of cold water is mandatory whenever a visitor enters a household. It is considered the least that the host can do.
And this, the least of all our efforts, the Bible says, God will reward.
What a heart! What a rich heart God has! This God, He is so rich, rich in grace. He can stoop so low as to consider a cup of cold water as something of worth in His sight! But nothing is too small with God. The smallest thing that we do is written into God’s account books.
That speaks of the greatness of God. There is no greater man than he who can stoop to consider and appreciate the small things. In the Book of Romans the Apostle Paul tells us:
“Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” Rom. 12:16
The apostle urges us to “condescend to men of low estate.”
That is not Paul speaking there; it is God Himself. If God through the Apostle Paul tells us to “condescend to men of low estate”, then it must mean that He also condescends to men of low estate.
But do you know how difficult it is for a raw human being to condescend to a man of low estate? It is very difficult. Very difficult. The lower a person is in the social ladder, the more difficult it is for men to appreciate them. Society can clap for an important man for simply flashing a smile; but they will conveniently ignore it when a man of humble stature saves a life!
But God… God not only condescends to men of low estate, but He is also able to be thankful for the smallest thing that we do for the sake of Christ. Imagine God rewarding someone for giving a cup of cold water to one of His servants. A cup of cold water, only? Yes, literally.
Such humility and sensitivity is unfathomable. Among the many praise-worthy qualities of God, therefore, is that He is an extremely humble, thankful and appreciative God. Now, that’s grace!!
How about us? Do we have the grace to thank and appreciate our brethren – and our family members – for even the smallest favor that they do for us? Are we able to bypass the mistakes and failures and instead focus on the effort that someone has put in out of love?
And – the most important question of all – do we have the grace to thank God for all that He has done and continues to do on our behalf? Do we continually take time to contemplate and thank God for our salvation?
May we learn to be thankful!!
[Below: Today I wish to share this beautiful song with you, my readers, “Were It Not For Grace”]