“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
For Jesus, a truly spiritual way of living is about being willing to give someone even a cup of cold water, or something just as simple as that. It is really not about keeping every jot and tittle of the law. It is a very simple gesture of kindness. At the end of the day, it’s all about having a heart that is willing to give to others the same grace, and mercy, and unconditional love that we have received from God.
When Jesus says here in Matthew how his disciples are to go out into the world, he is expecting his followers will put themselves out there in offering a gift of love, regardless of how small that gift might be. As a follower of Jesus we are also open to receive another’s generosity, and another’s welcome. And when that welcome is offered, it will be as if Jesus himself has received it. Thus, the gift of Christ comes full-circle as we become Christ for the neighbor who is Christ for us.
I am reminded of “The Vision of Sir Launfal” by James Russell Lowell. In it we hear the voice of Jesus speaking…
The Holy Supper is kept, indeed,
In what we share with another’s need;
Not what we give, but what we share,
For the gift without the giver is bare;
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.”
Our discipleship doesn’t have to be heroic. Most of our small acts of devotion, or tenderness, and forgiveness go largely unnoticed. Actually, most of time we don’t even remember that we did anything, but somehow these acts tend the relationships that are most important to us. Our faith life is made up of a thousand small gestures. Yet, according to Jesus, there is no small gesture. Anything done in faith and love has cosmic significance for the ones involved and, indeed, for the world God loves so much.
- Can you recall the small gestures of kindness you did yesterday for anyone?
- What are some small gestures you do for others that are done by habit that are as small as a cup of cold water?
- How have you been welcomed for any gesture that you did for someone?
- Who has blest you with a small gesture of kindness today or this week?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.