Editorial: Giving a cup of cold water

15 August 2023

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Nearly one in ten people around the world are suffering food shortages, according to a report on food security and nutrition published in July.

The report states that between 691 million and 783 million people lack a regular supply of food. The worst affected areas are the Caribbean, the Middle East, and all of Africa.

And, of course, chronic hunger is far from the only problem in a fallen world characterised by the overlapping crises of food insecurity, disease, armed conflict and extreme weather events.

Providing “even a cup of cold water” (Matthew 10:42) to a brother or sister in Christ is a blessing to those who give and those who receive [Image credit: UNICEF]

In the face of these overwhelming issues and staggering numbers of people suffering, it can be tempting to succumb to hopeless despair.

Yet the Lord never expects us to supply every single need or resolve every major problem. Rather, we are called to do what we can to help – even if it is no more than giving a cup of water.

As the Lord Jesus told His followers, “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42).

Remember that many of the millions suffering hunger are the disciples of Christ. A large proportion of these are undergoing persecution as followers of Christ along with all their other troubles. It is right and good to provide for people of all religions and none, but as Christians we have a particular responsibility to help those of our spiritual family (Galatians 6:10).

Remember too how the Apostle Paul commended the believers in Macedonia for giving so generously to help their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, even as they themselves suffered “extreme poverty” (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). Paul’s words show us that demonstrating this practical love to our Christian family is something that we should all seek to do.

None of us can do more than a little in response to such overwhelming suffering. Yet our Lord says that even this little is a blessing to us and to those we help.   

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