Jesus said: “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matt 10: 42) NIV
The Gospel reading set for this Sunday is very short – only 3 verses, and includes the verse above. When I read it, something in this one verse struck me, which I have never noticed before: the words “…who is my disciple”. In other places in the gospel, Jesus tells us to look after all those in need, for example Matthew 25 where we are encouraged to feed those who are hungry and clothe the naked. Based on this and other passages, we rightly see part of our church mission to be reaching out to those in need. However here, in this version of this verse, Jesus didn’t say that it was important to give water to anyone who needed it, or even any little one who needed it, but rather any little one who was his disciple.
I was supposed to be at Cliff College Mon-Wed this week on a retreat / course for those who have been in ministry for 10-12 years. Obviously, we couldn’t meet at Cliff, but we had a zoom retreat instead, which actually worked really well. It wasn’t as good as being there in person, but it was still a really helpful and valuable experience. One of the things we were encouraged to reflect upon was our calling to ministry and what particular aspects of ministry we first felt called to. For me, it has always been to minister to those within the church, more so that those outside the church – hence one of the reasons why I am a Presbyter, rather than a Deacon. My call to ministry involved feeling a pull to support and encourage people inside the church, our church family, to help all of us take another step in our faith journey – no matter where we are on that faith journey, we can all take a step further forward.
Now that doesn’t mean that I can forget about the rest of the world and dismiss any mission outside our church walls, because that is part of the calling of ALL Christians. But it does mean that it doesn’t need to feel over-indulgent to look after one another, to get our pastoral system running effectively, to run events for the church family, to make sure our house is in order. This is important too. In many ways, we need a solid base to invite new people to – a good system of care, fellowship and discipleship, otherwise, what are we inviting new people to be part of?
So I encourage you this week to keep supporting and encouraging one another within our church family. Maybe there is someone who we haven’t spoken to since lock-down began, who needs some support and encouragement at this time? Maybe we can offer that cup of water to one of Jesus’ disciples this week.
Re-opening our church
Well, I hope you are enjoying and continue to enjoy this beautiful and incredibly hot sunshine.
Every Blessing to you all,