A Cup of Cold Water

God made the His church to be a group of people who serve together and encourage one another. It’s nice to serve God where we are appreciated. But sometimes we must serve Him alone, without anyone noticing. It is a test of character to do our duty without attention or praise.

Ananias and Saphira donated money, but they were greedy for praise and lied to get it (Acts 5). Peter said, “Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart?” Would they have given at all if no one noticed?

Jeremiah didn’t have an easy preaching job. Day after day he spoke God’s word, but no one cared. Everyone treated him disrespectfully. He complained to God about this but kept on working for 40 years. He confessed, “Because of Thy hand upon me I sat alone” (Jer.15:17). This great prophet refused to give up just because nobody would pat him on the back.

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Philip was used to being in the thick of things. Made a special servant of the church in Acts 6, he gained people’s respect. In chapter 8 he bravely preached in Samaria and the crowds were amazed with his miracles and preaching. What a great harvest in that old rebellious city. But then the Spirit sent him to the middle of nowhere to intercept the eunuch from Ethiopia. Nobody was there to congratulate the preacher as he baptized him. Soon after, God sent him to Caesarea; an important town, but certainly not Jerusalem. About 20 years later, Paul stayed with Philip as he traveled through to Jerusalem. Philip had been preaching in Caesarea faithfully for at least two decades, out of the limelight. He served God with little attention or praise.

People like Jeremiah and Philip are heroes to us. I’m sure they were eventually recognized for their service, but they didn’t work under those conditions just to get attention.

Serve the Lord because you love Him. Don’t insist on a crowd of admirers. Much of what we must do for Christ goes unnoticed by others. Offer that to Him with humility. He notices and you will be rewarded in the future.

“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” (Matt.10:42).

– Tim Johnson