Recently a friend called me in the midst of a very challenging day and left me a message that changed my perspective on what Jesus says in Mark 9:41. If you’re not familiar with that passage, it says: “If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded.” I was surprised when I saw my friend's number in my “missed call” log because we don't talk on the phone very often. But what was even more surprising was his message, as he called to say thank you for something that happened over two years ago. The result is that his expression of gratitude for something I had done ended up being the very encouragement I needed on that challenging day. In other words, his words were the “cup of water” my thirsty soul needed. And I'm sure he didn't even know that’s what he was doing for me.
But beyond being an encouragement, his words were also the motivation I needed to continue serving God that day. As I did, I was reminded that when we serve others, the love of God is poured out through us. We see this truth modeled in Jesus' own life of daily servanthood - consistently showing His love for others by humbly serving them. In Matthew 20:26-28 He challenges His disciples to do the same, telling them: “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served - and then to give away His life.”
With these words, Jesus reminds us that life shouldn't be about us - but instead, it should be about expressing God's love to others. And one of the primary ways we can do that is by serving them. The good news is, God has placed people all around us who need to be served. Whether it's through our actions, or our words, there are people who need to experience God's love - and when we serve them, that's exactly what we're showing them. Serving others is a practical demonstration of God's love for them. And when we do it, God will work in their lives, and ours as well.
So today, let's ask God to show us how He wants us to use our words and actions to express His love to others. Let's ask Him to give us the opportunity to serve Him by serving others. And then, when God does present those opportunities, let's respond in love - and give that cup of water to someone in need.