Yes, I am embarrassed to admit that I once thought my folks loved my brother and sister more than me. Am I the only one admitting having had at least one fit of jealousy in my life, or can I get a witness? Jealousy is that ugly trait that stops the life of Christ in us dead in its tracks as he seeks to work through us.
I sometimes wonder if in Christ’s world here on earth some of His followers’ squabbles are rooted in that same childish spirit, the opposite of the childlikeness I believe Christ calls for.
One group claiming to be in the Lord’s fold cannot believe God would approve of [and love] another so-differently-named-Christian-group. For the record, I am speaking of the Christian world at large, not focusing on my own fellowship. This can happen in any Christian group.
I think of Proverbs 20:9…Who can say, “I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin”?
I believe this happens because we’re succumbing to our humanity, not because our consciences are so clean that we have been given carte blanche to speak against others. Only One has that authority and I worship him. I am seeking to make the right judgments he calls me to* while trying to avoid the easy route of judgmentalism.
When I’m tempted to go there, I find yet another passage challenging me to think otherwise:
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 gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward. – Christ**
Cups of cold water come from the most unusual places. It always touches me when someone does something unexpected for me with no desire for repayment, anyone in a Christian fellowship or not. I can do better here, for I’ve learned that those who refuse cups of cold water from others usually don’t offer them either.
It does so much for the name of Christ when I put others first. Putting them first doesn’t mean I agree with and condone every decision others make, as I believe neither did Christ agree with every detail and decision in the lives of those he served. But this is a subject for another time.
More personally speaking, Christ has served me first before expecting every detail of my life and every decision to meet his high level of expectation. He is patient as I learn and grow. What a generous God. He has been so good to me. I want to be such to others.
May I be humble enough to accept cups of cold water no matter who they are from, remembering to say thank you. May I also be humble enough to give one to another who needs it no matter the fellowship — or non-fellowship — they come from. When this happens, I wonder if Christ is both serving and being served? If so, I cannot lose whichever I chose to do by faith in God’s promises.
For the record, there are many in my own fellowship who practice this principle quietly, which is why it’s hard to see sometimes. But goodness has a way of leaking out and eventually when I get to see it, I give thanks that God has again challenged me to be such a disciple.
So I ask myself: Do I sit quietly enough to understand that God’s love is big enough to reach all mankind, or am I qualifying people I believe deserve his love before showing mercy towards them?
Who unexpectedly gave you a cup of cold water recently?
* John 7:24
** Matthew 10:40