500 water bottles

Last week when the Olympic torch came down Uxbridge Road through Shepherd’s Bush, we gave away 500 bottles of water to random people on the street. The bottles were gone in about 20 minutes.  Giving away those water bottles reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 10:42 about giving away water:

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.

Why just a cup of cold water?  Why doesn’t Jesus say, “If you adopt 30 orphan kids, then you will not lose your reward.”  or “If you clean the wounds of 45 lepers, then you will not lose your reward.”  Something challenging which really makes an impact.  A cup of cold water – that doesn’t sound like much.

Anyone can do that.

That’s the point.  Anyone can but most don’t.

Most of us like great challenges.  Giving away 500 water bottles took a bit of effort.  If we had pushed, we could have given away 2000.  But stopping what I’m doing to take care of one little child’s need?  Setting aside my agenda for a little kid I don’t even know.

Not so easy.

Faith doesn’t show itself in the spotlight.  Most of us can get our act together enough to perform when people are looking at us.  But in those quiet moments when no one is looking – those are the times when we find out if our lives are centered around ourselves or if we are centered around God Almighty.

Jesus isn’t arguing that if you give away a cup of water to a child then you go straight to heaven.  No.  He is letting us know that if we show mercy in the name of Jesus to the little ones in need – when no one is looking – that is a good indication that our faith is not resting on our good works but on the grace of God.

If we know the mercy of God upon us in the person of Jesus, our everyday actions will change.  Maybe not in dramatic ways.  Then again, maybe a cup of cold water is dramatic.  Maybe even more dramatic than 500 bottles of water.

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Chris Hatch

Seeking to love God and neighbor