Friday, July 22, 2011

A Cup Of Cold Water

As I was preparing to preach today one of the verses I read stood out to me and led me along a whole different meditation.

Mark 9:41
“For whoever gives you a cup of cold water to drink in My Name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward”

As I meditated I felt challenged as to my attitude to receiving from those God chooses to use.

1. God uses ‘whoever’

Whoever may be someone we don’t know, or someone we wouldn’t choose to receive from. They could be anonymous to us. The important thing is they are God’s channel of provision.

When I have been in need, especially financially, I have often looked for a source God would use. The well off ones, or close friends. More times than not is has been the person I would never have dreamt of – the pensioner or someone with little resources themselves. The first person to give into my ministry was a pensioner with little money. I confess to feeling a little guilty receiving.

If it’s whoever we can’t choose them God does.

2. A cup of cold water

A cup of cold water doesn’t seem a lot. Yet to a thirsty man it is everything.
It can be the smallest and most insignificant thing to us that we give but to someone else it can be so important and necessary.

One of the most precious things to give is our time. Going out of our way to walk the extra mile. I have been privileged to be on the receiving end of so many kind gestures. People have taken the trouble to help or spend time with me to make sure I enjoyed something. On my trips to South Africa to minister I have received so much kindness. It may seem like a ‘cup of cold water’ to some, not much, but it creates lasting memories and precious moments to those who receive.

3. In My Name

This prompted me to consider my attitude and thoughts as a receiver. Do I see it as from Christ? Do I see that beyond the gesture the ultimate source is God? He inspired the gift to meet my need because He loves me.

Pride often causes us to refuse what people offer. We can wrap it up with all manner of false humility but pride often refuses to allow us to see ourselves in a place of need.

We need to show thankfulness and gratitude when we receive and humbly accept what God is using someone to give.

4. Because you belong to Christ

I see in today’s world we want to be the answer to all the provision in our lives. Or maybe the opposite, we expect everything to come form others and we do little for it. God does expect us to work hard and enjoy the reward of our own hands but if we are in Christ we are designed to be part of His Body the Church. There is a responsibility to give and receive.

Apostle AndrĂ© Pelser quotes his friend and mentor Mike Woods as saying. ‘None of us have it all together but together we have it all’

God has so designed Church that we need each other. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that we are members of a body. Some are hands, some eyes, some feet but with Christ as the Head. We are made in Christ to belong to each other.

I saw from this not only that we need each other.The gift we receive is simply an in-house transfer. The giver is not going to lose out because it is all within the Body. I just happen to be in need and the provision is to allow me to continue ministry to the Body.

5. He will by no means lose his reward

As God is the source of the gift He is the source of the reward. I have sometimes made too much fuss when I have received from others, often to their embarrassment. It’s because I have been so grateful or maybe even relieved because of the pressure of the need.

I found it a great blessing to realise I can receive with confidence because God will reward them.

Jesus said ‘assuredly’. It is a vow He uses here, not just an idle phrase. There is substance behind the promise.

If we give ‘in His Name’ and to someone ‘belonging to Christ’ He is obliged to reward. If we give to bless others for the sake of the Kingdom and prompted by God we will not lose out.

As a receiver that lifts the responsibility from my shoulders. I don’t have to feel guilty about taking a gift. God will reward.