‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’
(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
As I waved goodbye to my husband and two small children that Thursday after lunch, knowing I wouldn't see them until my licensing in the cathedral on Sunday as a stipendiary Deaconess, it came home to me how wonderful it was to have such a generous and supportive husband who would take over the care of an eighteen month old and a six year old child, and produce them at the service three days later (and somehow keep them entertained during the service). On top of this he would look after my mother who lived with us and who was handicapped after a number of strokes. The whole of my ministry was the same. It was Adrian who fed us, did the washing and generally looked after the whole family.
In our passage from Matthew's Gospel today, Jesus is preparing the disciples to take his ministry to others. They are to be his representatives, and for those who welcome them, it's as though they welcome Jesus and also God who has sent His son to rescue His people. But even more than this, small kindnesses, like giving a cup of cold water, will not be forgotten. God will reward all such acts, when we do it in the name of the Lord.
This passage surely reminds us of all who serve God in tiny, almost insignificant ways, and of our need to thank them and to thank God for their loving kindness.
we thank You for all who support
ministry and mission within the church,
through seemingly small ways.
May we never forget those who work in the background,
preferring to leave others to shine up front.
You will give them their due reward,
but may we also offer them our thanks
for all their commitment to You.
Perhaps today we can think of all who help to keep our church alive and active, all who do the small tasks in the name of the Lord - who wash the linen, clean the brass, change the notices on the board, or quietly visit the sick etc. We can pray for them, and remember to thank them when we see them again.