“We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” Jesus, from The Message paraphrase of the Bible Matth 10:40-42)
I wrote a short note to a friend last week. Knowing she had recently went through a trying time, I told her that she had a rare and precious soul. I meant to just give her a few simple words that were true and directed to her heart. Just a simple “cup of cold water” from one heart to another.
To my surprise, she told me that those few words were the kindest thing that had ever been said to her. She wrote, “It is true that we do not say kind words to our friends often enough. Especially when they are going through trying times, a few words of kindness can suddenly make them not feel as lonely or flawed in some way but special. Life can be difficult.”
Frankly, I was stunned, on a variety of levels. First, I marveled that sometimes just a few words “fitly spoken” (Proverbs 25:11) truly can have a real impact on the soul of another. Second, I was saddened that no one else had done a better job than I. Here was a woman with many Christian friends, yet over the years she had no memory of any words that had impacted her heart similarly. Do we understand how much power we can have to speak into one another’s lives through the Spirit? How often do we take the time to do it? We have many stories of Jesus speaking into someone’s life, and their lives being transformed as a result.
Can we not do the same? Purpose to say something meaningful to someone’s heart today, even if it is just a few words. It doesn’t have to be profound or life-changing: it just has to be real. For more thoughts on how to speak to another’s soul check out the book Soul Talk by Larry Crabb; I have read and re-read this book and it is chock-full of many wise and insightful truths about how God can use us to minister to each other.
Everyone you meet today is thirsty. As I remarked to a patient this morning, “Last time I checked, I didn’t know anyone living a picture perfect life.” Give someone a cup of cold water today.
This week’s Web Watch Wednesday is for Blood Water Mission, a foundation that the CCM group Jars of Clay has set up to try and intervene and drill some drinking water wells for people in Africa.
Ok, I am not someone who is giving to every supposed “good cause” on the block. I am very selective, especially of anything that my fundamentalist scalp hairs raise up with the thought of “social gospel” or of cooperating with non-Christians. But I agree with Mr. Turk on this one. This is a no-brainer in my book. Water for people to drink. It’s not that much money. People need water to drink. Yes, they need the Gospel, their souls are eternally significant, but they can’t hear the gospel if they’re dead from dehydration.
Visit the site, pass on the Starbucks today, and pony up the spare change to keep some people alive.
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:32-33 ESV)
I was struck by the beauty and the power of the three dynamics that the apostle Luke describes in this passage.
The first dynamic is the grace of God—God’s supernatural power flowing into the believers, the body of Christ. The second dynamic is giving—the powerful change in the lives of believers generated by the free sharing of the material blessings that God had given them. The third dynamic is community—the one heart and soul of the believers that was evident of the community, the oneness, that God had granted to the church body.
What is exciting to think about is how each of these three dynamics related to each other. God’s grace helped to empower both the believers’ giving and their community, while the people’s obedience in giving and in community released even more grace to them. Giving brought the believers even closer together in true community, and being of one heart opened the believers to freely share even more. All three dynamics were synergistically contributing to the growth of the others to set up an environment of transformed lives and truly supernatural witness to the glory of God.
So can it be with our churches and small groups as well: If we intentionally pray for God’s grace, if we understand the power of true community and intentionally work and pray toward realizing it, and if we ask for the grace to freely give of ourselves, our time, and our possessions to the body we too will start to see supernatural transformation in ourselves and supernatural witness that brings glory to God.