Why ‘a Cup of Water’ Can Mean So Much

Cup of water
(iStock photo)

I'm the only person I know who picks up stray pennies. I add them to my coil cup, which will eventually be given to missions.

Every little bit counts.

The gospel song goes: "If just a cup of water I place within your hand ... Then just a cup of water is all that I command. ... "

What could be smaller than a cup of water? What gift could be less costly when given or more appreciated when received? What more insignificant act could the heavenly Father possibly take note of and enter into His records for judgment? And yet, there it is, from the mouth of the Savior Himself.

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This means possibilities for everyone. This means excuses for no one.

We pastors hear it all the time. "My gift is so small, it could not possibly matter. It could not make that much of a difference." "My little pittance would be an insult to God."

Wrong; very wrong. No gift is too small for the Father to take note of it.

The widow's gift of two pennies—the account is told in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4—should forever testify to the Lord's recognition of the smallest gift from the least of these. Surrounded by wealthy donors with bags of coins, this woman gave more than anyone else that day, said Jesus.

Clearly, God does not count the way we do.

He does not look at the numbers of our checks or currency to tote up what we are contributing. He has other ways of "counting the offering." God sees the heart, considers the intent and places great weight on both what the gift meant to the donor and the difference it made to the recipient.

A cup of cold water could mean life or death in some situations. In other less dire situations, it means refreshment for the journey and encouragement along the way. It all counts.

"Will never lose his reward."

No mention is given of the nature or size of that reward, only of its certainty. Our Lord promised something of a similar nature in another place.

"When you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous" (Luke 14:13-14).

You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Our Lord does not hesitate to promise amazing things. And He's not even running for office.

He wants to encourage faithfulness and generosity, grace and mercy, in His children.

Let us write it on our hearts in huge letters so that we will never forget it again: God sees what we do.

God cares what we give.

God values the slightest gift.

No one is without excuse.

All have eternal possibilities.

I keep remembering a story from a preacher from the distant past. The pastor called a businessman in his church to ask if he would like to contribute to the support of a young ministerial student who was headed to Bible college.

"I will be glad to, pastor. How much do you need?"

The pastor expressed surprise at his quick response. So, the man explained:

"Some years back, your predecessor called me with a similar request and I turned him down. That young man went on to become a powerful preacher of the gospel. Every time I think of him, I remember how I could have had a part in his life and shared in the reward for his ministry. And I determined if the Lord ever gave me another opportunity, I would grab it."

My single addition to the story is that the opportunities are all around us and not just awaiting a phone call from a pastor. Every Bible college and Christian seminary on the planet has students who are struggling financially who would rejoice at the gift of a few dollars. Some have to drop out because they cannot afford to take two or three years or more for their theological education when their families have pressing needs.

A few dollars in an envelope sent to that school with a note saying,  "For some ministerial student in need" will honor Christ and bless the Lord's servants. Then, some day in the future, you will get to see just how well the Lord keeps His promises.

"God is not so unjust as to forget your work and the love that you have shown toward His name in having ministered to the saints, and in still ministering" (Heb. 6:10).

Dr. Joe McKeever writes from the vantage point of more than 60 years as a disciple of Jesus, more than 50 years preaching His gospel and more than 40 years of cartooning for every imaginable Christian publication.

For the original article, visit joemckeever.com.

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