TUESDAY, MARCH 24
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 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.’
Matthew 25:37-40 (ESV)
A CUP OF COLD WATER
Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gilbert won a contest to sing the national anthem at an NBA playoff game. During her rendition of the National Anthem, in front of 20,000 fans and a television audience, she forgot the words. The fearful look in her eyes reflected the fact that she could not remember the words and did not know what to do. At that moment, Maurice Cheeks, the coach of the Portland team, moved over to Gilbert, put his arm around her, and helped her finish the song. The coach came alongside the frightened girl and helped her in her time of need.
Jesus always took time to help individuals in their time of need, even when the crowds pressed in around Him. When teaching His followers about the importance of serving, Jesus said one cup of cold water given to the thirsty was significant. On the cross, Jesus experienced extreme thirst and knew how vital a cup of cold water would be to the thirsty. When you meet the smallest need, Jesus says you are serving Him.
In Matthew 25, Jesus also mentions feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, giving aid to the sick, and visiting the prisoner. What are these acts describing? Jesus’ list describes acts of mercy that you can do every day. These acts do not depend on wealth, ability, or intelligence; they are simple acts freely given and freely received. No exceptional “talent” is needed. Serving is doing what for others what you would want someone to do for you. It’s not the size of the cup but the size of your heart that matters. Are you overwhelmed by all the pain and suffering in the world? In your city? In your neighborhood? What role should the church play in meeting these needs? What needs in your community burden you the most? What can you do to help one person today?
The Psalmists writes: “The LORD is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope” (Psalm 34:18 CEV). When you are discouraged and want to give up, God is there to help and meet your needs. Give thanks to your Father for meeting your needs especially when you are discouraged and have lost hope.