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Eternal Rewards for Those Who Serve God

While preparing the Twelve for a lifetime of serving others, Christ promised an eternal reward even for giving someone a cup of cool water.

“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 in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:41–42)

Those words tell us that “improving our serve” begins with little things. It begins with thoughtful things—an understanding embrace of one who is hurting, a brief note to one who is lonely and feeling unappreciated and forgotten, a cup of cool water for one whose lips are parched from the hot blast of a barren desert when all seems futile and worthless.

God takes special notice of all these efforts.

These words take on a new shade of significance when we read that familiar account in Matthew 25. Jesus said:

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:31–40)

The scene is after this life. The Judge is offering His rewards. The servants receiving them were so unselfish, they had long since forgotten the deeds.

But not our Lord!

—Chuck

Comments

The link between Mt. 10:42 and Mt. 25 can help focus Christ's message. The cup of cold water given to one of these little ones is done in the name of a disciple, and is another example of receiving a certain special one (like the prophet or righteous man in 10:41). In Mt. 10 Jesus had sent his disciples out, telling them to depend on the hospitality of those to whom they would announce good news and heal. In 10:42 Jesus is saying those who receive these lowly little ones, these poor disciples, and give them hospitality will be remembered and rewarded by God.
Similarly, in Mt. 25 the least of these (like the little ones) are "my brothers" (in 12:49 Jesus says his disciples are his brothers). They are least because they have again been sent out to all the nations (as in the climax of Mt. 28:19-20, the great commission) as poor disciples in need of hospitality. Those who receive them and their mission will discover in the end that to receive Jesus' brothers was to receive him.

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