34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ — Matthew 25:34-40
I just got back from a surprise-filled 6 mile run. After some amazing (yet hard) time in a two month intensive discipleship program this summer, and then some vacation time, I really needed some time running, as its a great way for me to connect with God and clear my head from distractions! Being out of discipline of exercising regularly, I anticipated doing a short 2 to 3 mile run to ease myself back into it. However, after 4 miles had passed, I decided to stop by a Dairy Queen along my route to see if they might have just a cup of cold water to spare. The cashier was very pleasant and graciously gave me the cold water that I found myself thirsting for.
I noticed the sun casting some shade to one side of the building and decided to enter the shade for a moment or two to enjoy the cold water. As I rounded the corner, there was a young man sitting next to his bike in the shade. The bike had a flat tire. The young man, Andrew, was a very pleasant and friendly person, announcing almost immediately that he was homeless and smelt bad; and so warned me not to sit too close, as he wanted not to offend me. He shared that he was hungry, very thirsty, but said he really had no reason to complain. Andrew is 28, a veteran who has served our country, and was recently a victim of a failed engagement with his ex-fiance, as she and her family were abusive and created much drama and Andrew had to flee.
God placed a deep love and concern in my heart for Andrew. I prayed to God what I might offer this young man, as I only had a house key on me, my clothing, and a cold cup of water. God nudged me to offer him my water, though I was really thirsty and looking forward to enjoying it. However, it wasn’t much of a sacrifice as I offered it to him and saw his joy at my compassion. Then I asked Andrew if I could pray for him. He excitedly shared with me that he loves Jesus and pulled out an orange Gideon’s New Testament Gospel from his pocket. Andrew had a joy beaming from him, and his eyes and countenance were beautiful. I knew I was with a brother in the Lord, and really longed to be able to help more.
As I slid myself nearer to Andrew on the bench and reached out my hand to place it on his shoulder to pray for him, he quickly cautioned that he had just cleaned a dumpster area by picking up all the trash near it and that he smelt bad and maybe I shouldn’t or wouldn’t want to touch him. He spoke almost ashamed, but my heart burst with pride in this young man who without wanting to draw attention to himself would be so concerned about others (the dumpster area looking cleaner and me not smelling bad by touching him). I proceeded to place my hand on his shoulder and together we called out the name of God for provision, blessing, and God’s will to be accomplished in and through Andrew’s and my life! It was such a holy moment of meeting with God and His Holy Spirit right where we were at.
As soon as I finished praying, Andrew quickly jumped in and started praying. The first thing Andrew prayed for was that God would bless the less fortunate than him. My heart was so humbled and blessed by him and his heart for God, I forget what else he prayed for. Andrew, in a very challenging situation most of us can not relate to, made his initial and plea and request to God to be for the provision of others that he sees as worse off than himself. Such a humbling selflessness.
As I reflect on my run and how it played out differently than I anticipated, I am reminded again of the incredible significance of ‘along the way’ ministry… living lives of ministry… allowing God to show up and use us in the little day by day activities of life. I really longed to give Andrew money, a place to shower, stability, but as I prayed God convicted me that all He was inviting my to do along the way was to give a cup of water and offer prayer. Some will think I am making more of this than necessary, but along the way today I was able to give just a cup of water and a prayer for one of God’s beautiful creations, and I know it is eternally significant… as Jesus said that when we give just a cup of water to one in need we also give a cup of water to Him! I served not only Andrew but also Jesus a cup of cold water today, and I pray that Andrew reaps great provision and blessing for giving me this opportunity to serve and bless!