Sunday, February 2, 2014
All It Takes Is a Cup
While attending a long weekend meeting with my husband, I had the opportunity to sit across the dinner table from a woman whom I had never met. I introduced myself and asked her name. Before long, we had made a close connection as, even though she lives in another city, she not only knows my uncle very well, but my brothers are her dentists. Come to find out, I was even the recipient last year of some of her very famous produce.
It was truly not only a delicious meal of shrimp and grits, roasted squash, zucchini, asparagus and mushrooms with a wonderful peach cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream for dessert, but it was a delightful dinner sitting across from this interesting woman as she related one adventurous story after another of humorous predicaments in which she had found herself. There were times I literally had to stuff my cloth napkin in my mouth to keep from laughing too loud, thereby drawing too much attention to myself, not mention embarrassing my husband in front of his colleagues.
However, as the meal and evening drew on, one thing became and remained crystal clear: this woman has no relationship with Christ. In fact, I might go as far as to say she DEFIANTLY does not know Him. And I find that so sad. Even heart breaking.
Maybe this woman has cause not to believe. After all, I learned later that her only daughter and biological child (she has since adopted) died at a very young age. Surely that cannot leave a mother neutral in her faith. Such tragedy has to push one to the edge. Did it push her too far?
As I lay in bed later that evening, I couldn't help but think about this woman; about me. Did I say anything to ease any hurt? To help bridge a divide? To fill a gaping hole? Honestly, I never said the name of Jesus. I didn't even bow my head to pray before the meal. The only thing to "connect" me was the pewter cross and pearl hanging around my neck, and we all know that is no sure sign. No, I had failed miserably. What, if anything, could or should I have done differently. And then it seems God spoke so clearly to my heart.
"You gave her a cup of cold water."
"Don't you remember? You served her ice water."
Indeed I did. I had forgotten that when I sat down across from her, our very first bit of conversation was her asking me where she could get her drink. I told her, but as she started to rise, I said, "Please, let me get it for you." She objected at first, but I insisted and rose quickly from my place and went to the kitchen and returned with a glass of cold water, placing it down in front of her.
"You served her some water."
That seems so simple. So irrelevant. But maybe, just maybe, that's what it's all about. Not about talking or wearing necklaces or even being religious. Lord knows I have certainly had years of experience in that area and I make myself sick just thinking about it. But maybe it really is as Father Thomas Keating wrote in The Mystery of Christ, "If one is transformed, one can walk down the street, drink a cup of tea or shake hands with somebody and be pouring divine life into the world." He goes on, "When the love of Christ is the principal motivation, ordinary actions transmit divine love. This is the fundamental Christian witness; this is evangelization in its primary form."
Yes. Maybe evangelism is not always preaching or teaching or talking. Sometimes it's as simple as giving a cup of cold water to someone who is thirsty even, no, especially when they don't know what they are thirsty for.
I'm so grateful the Lord didn't allow the story to end there. No, He gave me two more occasions over the next couple days to "transmit love" to this new friend. All through ordinary actions. That's just the kind of God He is. So loving. So kind. So personal.
All it takes is a cup.
Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.
John 13:35 (The Voice)
Just an ordinary moment...