compassion

Give a “cup of cold water” in Jesus’ name

It was April, 2009 and I was going through a dark, depressing season of life that had begun two years earlier. By this point, I felt more than alone; I felt invisible and unloved by my closest friends and misunderstood by my family. But that month, I had a bright reprieve from the darkness.

I was on staff for a home school government class/leadership camp called TeenPact. Although the students began working on class assignments months in advance, the culmination was an intensive week on-site in Springfield, IL. That week, as we led the students through class assignments, the staff became good friends. However, a single memory from that week stands out from all the others.

Thursday night, the guys on staff invited us girls to make a Starbucks run with them for the last morning of the class. After all, a little extra caffeine never hurt anyone, right? As tempting as the offer was, we turned it down. Thirty extra minutes of sleep sounded better to us than coffee. Besides, we wanted to make sure that we had enough time to do our hair and make-up before leaving for the class.

It was a good thing that we didn’t, because we all ran late that morning. Finally, two minutes to go-time, one girl was finally done and said she’d run out to the hotel lobby and let the guys know that the rest of us would be out in just a few minutes. But when she opened the door, she gasped, frozen in her tracks. “The guys brought us coffee!” She exclaimed.

Sure enough, there was a drinks carrier with four steaming hot white mochas right outside our door. I had never had one before, but decided after a sip that it was my new favorite drink. And not because the flavor was that incredible. It had so much more to do with the way that little act of service made little me feel like a princess. For the first time in forever, I felt seen and loved.

Jesus talked about that kind of thing in Matthew 10:42: “Indeed, if someone gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple — yes! — I tell you, he will certainly not lose his reward!” (CJB) Thing is, that cup of cold water often takes a different form. In my opinion, the point that Jesus is trying to communicate is that even small gestures done in Christ’s name can make the biggest difference in someone’s life, especially when they feel insignificant. For little me, that looked like receiving an unexpected white mocha on a busy morning.

It’s been ten years, and white mochas are still my celebration drink of choice. Landing a new job, visiting a friend that I haven’t seen in years, going on vacation, the beginning of the Christmas season, and dozens of other happy events have been commemorated by white mochas. The first sip always sends me back to that morning and the realization that someone cared that much. And as a smile spreads over my face, I can’t help but pray, “Lord, give me the opportunity to bless someone else like I was blessed.”

Who will you give a “cup of cold water” to today?

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