It was bonus stars day at the coffee house and I wanted to make sure I earned mine. Besides, it had been a long time since I had a ‘treat,’ so I pulled into the driveway to get in line. As I did this, I noticed someone sitting alongside the planter in the parking lot. Beside her was a shopping cart filled with what looked like a few possessions and lots of cardboard.
As the line crawled up to the drive thru window, I got a better glimpse of her. She looked as though she had all her possessions in that cart and had been on the streets for some time.
Then I started to think about the lessons I had learned during a ministry training. “A cup of cold water.” I kept hearing it over and over in my head. “Whatsoever you do to the least of these, that you do to Me.” I couldn’t shake it. And that’s when I knew it was not meant to be shaken off.
for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Matthew 25: 42-43 New American Standard Bible
I cruised up to pick up my order of drinks as I looked into my passenger rearview mirror. She was still there. In that hot sun.
“I’d also like a cup of cold water,” I said before leaving the window. The worker asked what size I wanted. “The largest I can get, please.”
As I exited, I pulled around to within six feet of the woman on the planter. Large cup of water in hand, I got out of my car and walked over to her. She had been distracted by a wound on her leg and didn’t see me pull up. I walked over to her and said, “You might be thirsty.” I set the cup beside her. “Oh, okay. Thanks.” I walked back to my car and drove off.
A flood of tears began to stream down my face as I drove into traffic on my route home. Part of me was remorseful that I didn’t buy her a complete meal. Another part of me was regretting not having shared the Gospel with her. It was clear she needed more than just this cup of cold water.
‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or as a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me, either.’ Matthew 25:44b-45 New American Standard Bible
My heart broke for what I cannot fix — the homeless and destitute of our community. The occasional complaints that I may utter to myself about how long I have to wait to find a parking space, or the lack of public gym etiquette, or my favorite product is not on the shelf at the grocery store … they all pale by comparison to the deep needs of those whose hurt and pain just extends beyond my reach.
And still yet, GOD says to respond. In whatever way I can ease your pain, in this moment, I want to do that. Because He brought you to my attention, I have the responsibility to rise up. It doesn’t have to be that I find you housing or drive you to a shelter. But I can offer you that cup of cold water.
The same is true of the one sitting within my sphere. If I see that she is hurting, why would I need to think twice about reaching out to ‘put my arm around her shoulders’ and let her cry it out?
It’s been my observation that all too often we are fearful of invading another person’s space or privacy; afraid to be rejected for caring or wanting to simply help. Sister, let me tell you — you won’t know unless you do something. Her reaction to your friendship and love may just be the prescription she needs to make it through her day. Please, let us not be guilty of waiting for someone else to act first.
who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4-5 New International Version
Have you ever prayed that GOD break your heart for what breaks His? It’s a risky place to be when you do. Because then you must respond to that heart shattering moment — no matter where you may be.
Our Heavenly Father is a Redemptive GOD. He saves all our heartache and pain and redeems them at some point in our life. I’ve come to recognize that when He does, it’s when we least expect it. And not only will it bring timely healing to our souls and give meaning to the wounded and broken places in us, it can also be used through us in bringing restoration to another hurting person in our sphere of influence.
This exemplifies the heart of the Father living within us.
We may not be able to solve and provide for every need — but we can make a difference. As an individual, we can do something from our little corner of the world to touch the life of at least one person. There is so much we are capable of doing if we make ourselves available to the Whispers of GOD on a daily basis. And the unexpected blessings will come flooding back.
A cup of cold water may be what your neighbor needs in the form of running errands, taking out their trash cans, cleaning their house or garage or bringing them a home cooked meal. That same cup of cold water could be in making the time to sit with a friend or relative that needs to unload some heavy heart matters.
Love and compassion have no monetary price tags. The price for healing wounds and broken places has already been paid. Jesus took care of that. He gave us the opportunity to extend that grace and tenderness in His Name.
Where can you provide that cup of cold water today, Friend?
Write in the Comments what you plan to do or what you did — I’d love to hear about it!
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary
A powerful truth and beautifully written, Linda. A cup of cold water, a smile or a hug, they all make a difference! As Lysa Terkeurst suggested at #shespeaksonline2021, what a difference it would make in the world if we all did this every day. 365 x ???…wow!
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Judith Barillas: I’m so glad this spoke to you today. And yes, as Lysa TerKeurst encouraged us all to step out in faith to make that impactful difference, it would start a wonderful ripple effect in the world. Blessings to you this day, Sister.