And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones…he will certainly
not lose his reward.”
Matthew 10:42 (NIV)
When I was speaking at a College and Career week at a camp, in the Muskoka district of Ontario, I had an unusual experience. I was up front leading the young adults through a Bible study and I happened to glance out the window of the lodge and saw a truly wonderful sight that almost caused me to stop speaking.
What I saw and heard was a man dumping cans of garbage into the back of a camp truck in order that he could take it away to the dump site. Now nothing is wonderful about someone cleaning up the garbage. In fact it is so common a sight that we do not stop to look at it. We certainly do not remember it.
What was amazing to consider was a remarkable detail in the situation. The man who was being a garbage collector was also the pastor of a very large and prosperous church in Toronto. Somehow it seemed inconsistent for such an important and revered person to stoop to the task of removing the smelly refuse on behalf of the camp.
This man could have spoken to the College and Career campers more effectively than I ever could. I had a fleeting thought that I should be the garbage man and he the speaker. Such humble service by such an important man demonstrated the spirit and love of Jesus.
This is what Jesus is getting at in our verse today. In the context of our verse Jesus had been speaking of how the Father pays attention to the most unimportant detail of His people. Even the very hairs of our heads are numbered Jesus said.
Then Jesus said to the disciples that the simple act of giving cold water to the most humble person who believes in Him will not go unnoticed by the Father. I could not count the times that I have given a drink to one of my little grandchildren who believe in Jesus. I confess that until writing this article it had never occurred to me that I would some day be rewarded for the deed. I did not do it for a reward rather I did it because it needed to be done.
The very important pastor who acted as a garbage man that day so long ago will be rewarded for doing something that no one saw but myself. The simplest unobserved thing you do for Jesus and His people is seen by the Father in heaven and it is going to be rewarded if not now, in the great day when we all stand before the Lord to give account.
I believe that I am writing to some wonderful people who are not in the spotlight of life. You may be praying in secret for the Lord’s blessing on His church. You may be handing out bulletins and greeting people as they come into the Lord’s house. Perhaps you simply mail a get well card to a shut in. You are noticed by God even though no one else pays attention to your work. The work you do is honourable and shall be blessed. Take heart today wherever you are, God sees you and shall reward you in the great day that is coming.
For my readers who hold the highest positions in church life, remember that Jesus humbled Himself when He came here. Perhaps you need to “collect the garbage”, that is do some work that no one will know about but will help God’s people to walk well in this life.