A Cup Of Water (Matthew 10:42)

Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash

Some preach and teach that you can be transactional in your relationship with God. They tell you that you can use God as a banker; that whatever you give Him, He will ensure is given back to you with accumulated and multipled interest. The name for that kind of teaching is Prosperity Gospel. When pressed for the basis of that belief, they’ll point to various Bible verses which clearly indicate that God will not be any man’s debtor. 

For certain, Jesus did say, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”  That does indicate that God keeps record of even the smallest of things done in His Name, and it does certainly say that God rewards those who act in accordance with His character. 

But it is also true that to become transactional in our relationship to God is nothing short of a gross distortion of His character. God is not a vending machine or a government policy, where if you put the right thing in you get a certain thing out. Even earthly fathers detest their children treating them as bankers. So to make God – in all His magnificence and majesty and glory – into a kind of spiritual banker who is obliged to pay you for what you’ve done is nothing less than highly offensive. The prosperity Gospel is a demonic distortion of God’s character. It requires that one take the verses out of context and apply them with a lather of selfishness. 

When Jesus gave us His teaching about the cup of cold water, He was speaking to His disciples and commissioning them to go out in His Name. Seen in the context of the whole passage, one can see that Jesus’ point was not to change the way we approach God, but to change the way we approach all those made in His image, and especially those who carry His Name. His point was to assign tremendous value to the work of being a true disciple in bringing His Name to others. In fact, there is so much value in involvement with His mission that even those who interact in the smallest of ways with His disciples are blessed.  

We can call that spiritual principle the principle of award. 

The spiritual principle of award is really a mix of the spiritual principles of ripples (that what we do has an ever greater impact as it ripples through time) and compensation (that those who honor God by receiving the ones who do His work will be paid the same as those who did the work) – excepting that in this principle, Jesus attests to a much more diminutive act than receiving the Gospel messenger, or receiving a prophet or righteous man. He notes that even those who bless them with a cup of cold water are rewarded, and that with something of God. 

The fact is that so great is His person and so great is His mission that even the smallest act toward Him is bound to produce a blessing. The blessings of God surround Him like mist from a waterfall – you just cannot approach without getting damp! 

Perhaps you will say, My part is a very small one. Never mind. Do the thing the Lord gives you; it might be only to give a cup of cold water—that would be a very useful thing to a thirsty soul; and the result is increase now and reward by-and-by.

W. T. P. Wolston


Praise God that He is who He is, and that in who He is we are so profoundly blessed.