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"A Cup of Water's Reward"

October 06, 2018
By Pastor Bill Te Winkle

“Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.” Mark 9:41 (NIV)

One of the foundational minds of Christianity is an ancient writer by the name of Augustine.  Saint Augustine of Hippo taught in the Church following his conversion in 386 A.D. My discovery of his comment on these words of Jesus took my breath away. I came to a clearer understanding of the operation of God’s mercy and the expansiveness of grace found in Jesus.   What Augustine says, in essence, is that those who are not yet receiving sacraments in the church still, by their simple act of offering a cup of water to God’s children, give evidence that they are being so guided by God’s mercy that they may also come to receive the ‘loftier gifts’. 

Those who are not yet ‘in the church’ are not ‘lost causes.’ Rather, look at their lives. Do they so much as offer a cup of water? The word picture Jesus uses is representative of any act of kindness done in the name of Jesus for the sake of Jesus.  Kayla McClurg summarizes it like this: “Help your neighbor, listen to a child, notice the lost, rejoice and weep with your sisters and brothers. By such quotients as these will you be known for who you really are….”

I do not intend by this to diminish the importance of public profession of faith in Jesus Christ nor of participation in the formal administration of the sacraments.  But, sometimes people are ‘professing their faith’ in a very public way just by offering a cup of water to the children of God.

It is not that the act of offering a cup of water saves anyone. Rather, the act reveals their inner hearts: as they love the children of Jesus they show their love for Jesus.

If you have family members who do not partake in the formal worship life of the church, do not despair.  Look at the evidence in their actions which reveal their hearts. Believe that God is at work spreading mercy and grace over them in such a way that they will certainly not lose their reward of life with God.

Dedicated to the memory of my Mother, Janet, who taught her family to love Jesus, and who ‘prayed hard’ for evidence that everyone she met loved Jesus too. She has her reward.

Shalom,

Pastor Bill