“We are intimately linked in this harvest work. (All Christians are in this together and called to witness for God.) Anyone who accepts what you do, (the Disciples) accepts me, (Jesus) the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do (Jesus) accepts my Father, (God) 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. (A helper and Disciple) You won’t lose out on a thing.” (God will see what you are doing and be pleased.)
I read so many translations of these verses trying to find one that would not be so confusing for kids and finally chose the one above from The Message Bible. (I added the parentheses to help explain.) In these verses, Jesus is telling the Disciples that whoever welcomes them welcomes Jesus! And Jesus is God’s son, so welcoming Jesus is the same as welcoming God! Jesus was telling His Disciples it’s not going to be an easy task to witness to people. As we talked about a couple of weeks ago, it doesn’t seem possible for us to do what Jesus did, but we can do what He did just maybe on a smaller scale, starting with those around us. We discussed some ideas how to do that in that children’s sermon.
Jesus wants us to be kind and accepting of all people even those different from ourselves. God said above welcoming is being God’s helper. You may have heard about what is going on lately with racial tensions and people being treated differently because of their skin color or ethnic background. Jesus said this isn’t right, and He never treated people badly because of any differences they might have. In fact, Jesus dealt with a lot of people very different from the general population back then. He welcomed everyone and helped everyone. Now, we must understand that doesn’t mean we have to accept all behaviors because honestly some of the people’s behaviors lately we hear about in the news are not Godly. But we must be careful and remember we are all human beings and need Christ in our lives. We are all the same in God’s eyes. We can show them that by our own Godly behaviors and praying for them.
We don’t have to be famous, do miracles, or do huge works of volunteerism Jesus says. Do what you can to help someone and start with where you are and in small steps. I’m sure we can find one person to help every day – even if it’s in our own family. Jesus said above just giving a cup of cold water to someone makes us like Him. We can all do what we can to make this world a better place for everyone – nothing done in kindness is ever too small or not worthwhile. Amen.
Let’s pray. Father God, we thank You for all You have given us and especially Your Son, Jesus. Please help us to be welcoming to all people and help them in any way that we can – even if it’s just giving them a drink of water. Please help our country to heal from all the hurt feelings and injustices that have happened. Please help those affected by Covid 19 as well. Let us all remember to help each other and pray for each other just as Jesus did and still does. In Your name we pray these things, Amen.
Trying to be like Jesus can be that way. In the Bible we learn of all of the incredible things Jesus did to help others. Some of the things he did – his miracles – aren’t things we’ll ever be able to do. So when the Bible says we should lead our lives like Jesus, that can sound like a very big job, can’t it? How could we ever be like someone so great? Sometimes it makes me wonder if I can.
But in today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us an important lesson – sort of like the one my mother taught me. He tells us about how important it can be to do even things that seem very small – like giving a cup of cold water to someone who is thirsty.
Hey, I can do that! I may not be able to do some things, but I can look for someone who needs a little help and lend a hand, right? And so can you!
So this week, I want you to try to remember to be like Jesus in little ways. Give someone a drink of water, help to hold a door open for someone whose hands are full, tell someone how much you love them…there are lots and lots of little ways. Can you do that? Good.
Will you pray with me?
Sometimes living up to your example can seem like a huge job – but we know that little things can make a very big difference. Help us to remember all of the little ways that we can show our love and kindness every day.
Copyright 2008, Dan Wuori. Used by permission.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.