Over the last three weeks, this image has brought to my mind some words from Jesus.
If you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of My followers, you will surely be rewarded.
Matthew 10:42 (NLT)
Most of the time most of us take that figuratively. Giving a cup of cold water can be a symbol for any act of generosity. But God isn’t allowing me to look at “the cup of cold water” as a symbol.
This week, I was listening to a message from a pastor in Michigan, Rob Bell. He was quoting some statistics and said, “12% of the world’s population uses 85% of the world’s clean water. Worldwide, more than a billion people do not have access to a safe supply of drinking water.”
I went online and did a little more research. “Every 15 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease. That adds up to 6,000 deaths – equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every single day.”
It’s easy for us to take for granted our access to a safe supply of drinking water. But the lack of safe water affects one-sixth of the world’s population. Lee Jong-wook, Director of the World Health Organization said, “Once we can secure access to clean water for all people, a huge battle against all kinds of diseases will be won.”
Here’s what’s happening inside me. God is saying, “Rick, you can get a drink of safe water anytime you want. And you really have more money than you need. You have extra. What are you doing to help bring about the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water?”
Then, I talked with Maryanne about what I’ve been thinking. She said, “Wow. I jsut saw a show on TV about the need for clean water and I’ve been wondering what we could do, too.”
A picture, a message, a talk with Maryanne, and dealing with the truths of this series have made us take a harder look at what we're doing with the extra that God has given the Duncans. God is moving in our hearts.
Matthew 25: 31-46 (NLT)
There you have it. One sign of a true lamb – a true follower of Christ, a truly eternally saved person – is generosity with the extra. You get extra and then you give it. Because when you give your extra, Jesus says that you’re giving it to Him.
Maryanne and I give to the general fund of our church. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,” the scriptures say. And the largest budget in our church budget is our missions budget. As a church, we give our extra as a group to help meet needs of people all around the world. So,we could say, "Since we give to the general fund and since some of that goes to missions, we're covered. Plus, we give "over and above" gifts to our building fund. And we give to various other ministries as well.
But this week, I believe that the Lord was asking for something more. "Will you somehow get involved in giving a cup of cold water to people who don't have it?" So, we checked out an organization called Water Ministries International. They not only want to get clean water into people’s bodies, but they want to get the Living Water – Jesus – into people’s hearts. And this past week, we shared some of our extra with an organization committed to get clean water to people who need it.