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Just a Cup of Cold Water
Bible study on service.

Last week in our bulletin I used the analogy of a cup of cold water.

This week I want to expand upon this analogy from God's word, to motivate us even more.

Jesus And The Phrase
On two occasions, the Bible records Jesus using the phrase "cup of cold water" (Matt. 10:42; Mk. 9:41).

The first time, Jesus is giving the apostles instructions before sending them out to preach.

  • "'He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.'"

The second time Jesus uses the phrase, John asks about someone they didn't know who was casting out demons in Jesus' name.

  • "But Jesus said, 'Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.'"

To give someone a cup of cold water is to serve that person, as God would have us to do.

A song we sing, Room In God's Kingdom, illustrates this point.

Just a cup of cold water in His name given
May the hope in some heart renew;
Do not wait to be told, nor by sorrow driven
To the work God has planned for you.

Notice the analogy between water and serving people as God's children:

  • Both water and being served by Christians are blessings from God.
  • Both water and being served by Christians fulfill a need.
  • Both water and being served by Christians refresh us.
  • Both water and being served by Christians aid in providing life.

Along the same lines of the water / service analogy, remember that Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. He gave His life a ransom to give us the water of eternal life (Matt. 20:28; Jn. 4:10-14; Rev. 22:1).

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells us about judgment, explaining that we'll be judged by whether we serve our brethren.

In describing the faithful, Jesus shows their service to His brethren. They fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, invited in strangers, clothed the naked, and visited those who were sick and in prison.

In other words, the faithful are those who gave a cup of cold water to their brethren. They were doers of the word, and not merely hearers (Jas. 1:22-27).

Also in this Scripture, Jesus also tells us that when we serve our brethren, we are serving Him. And as a result, being faithful in all things, we have a home in heaven.

Oh, The Things We May Do
There are lots of things we can do to serve our brethren. A song we sing, Oh, The Things We May Do, makes this point:

1) Have you lifted a stone from your brother's way
As he struggled along life's road?
Have you lovingly touch some frail, toil-worn hand,
Shared with someone his heavy load?

2) Have you spoken a word full of hope and cheer?
Have you walked with a slower pace,
Till the weary of heart who were stumbling on,
Took new courage to run the race?

3) Have you held up your light thro' the shadows dark,
So that somebody else might see?
Have you lived with the Christ thro' the long, long day,
Gaining many a victory?

It's important for us to use our blessings, to the best of our ability, to serve others.

If we do, in faithful service to God, we'll go to heaven. But if we don't, we'll be lost for eternity.

James puts it like this:

  • "What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,' and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself" (Jas. 2:14-17).

Are you serving others, by giving them a cup of cold water?