Dear Church Family,
Our scripture for today comes from Matthew 10: 42.
Jesus is teaching: “And if anyone gives 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.”
A couple of days ago I was fortunate enough to see one of our members at Dewey’s Café in the Main Library. In the course of our conversation she asked, “What should I give up for Lent?” I told her about some of the things I have given up over the years as well as some of the things I have taken on. Since that conversation I have been thinking of Lenten disciplines and, especially, the one I took on last year.
Last Lent I decided to give up all drinks I had to pay for. Coffee brewed at home or a can of soda from the fridge did not count but any drink I would pay for in a restaurant or drive thru or gas station was off limits. Ordering water became my new default. I then kept track of the money I would have spent on those drinks and, after Easter, I gave that money to a mission agency that works toward clean drinking water around the world. Imagine my surprise when, after 40 days, I was writing them a check for over $150!
I will confess that many days all I got out of the experience was shock at how much restaurants charge for iced tea (you might want to look sometime, you will be shocked as well). Other times all I could think about was how much physical waste there was in the drinks I buy and carry around. Then other times it provided the opportunity to really consider our family’s budget and where our priorities are when so much of the world lives on a dollar a day.
Then there were these moments when the discipline would take me deeper and I would consider the gift of water, of its sheer abundance in my life and what abundance really looks like. I would think about the waters of my baptism and how much in my life was there only through God’s grace. By the end of the 40 days I truly felt like I had been given a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name and what reward there was in that.
This is the power of discipline in our lives. “Discipline” has overtones that make us think of punishment but, in reality, our disciplines are what mold and shape the most important parts of our lives. Whatever you choose, I hope you will choose a discipline this Lent. The season begins on February 18 and ends with Easter. Perhaps you will modify how much meat you eat or how much scripture you read. Once you’ve chosen, stick with it and allow it to take you deeper.
Prayer: Lord of every part of our lives, come into each corner of our day today. We invite you in for we want to be shaped. Mold us and make us your own. In your name we pray. Amen.