Written by Harvey Cozart
Not long ago an elderly gentleman walked into Nathaniel Mission with his arms tightly folded struggling to stay warm from the frigid temperature outside. He approached me asking if I had a jacket or long sleeve shirt, anything thicker than the thin t-shirt that he was wearing. Without much thought, I said, “Sure, I will look and see what we have for you." I immediately began to search our clothing area for a jacket, shirt, sweater, anything that could help him stay warm. Bingo! I found a jacket just the size he asked for along with some other warm clothes. When I got back, I handed him the jacket and the other items. I will never forget the expression that came over him. This immense smile lit up his face and he quickly put the jacket on. “Look," he said, “just the right fit!" He reached for my hand and said, “Thank you!" I told him he was very welcome; this was just something small.
But was it really; was it really a small thing? In his eyes, this was so much bigger than I could realize. It is so easy to think that the small ways in which we serve people are insignificant. We often think that a smile and a friendly hello to someone is just a normal way of communication, but to the one who is receiving that smile and hello, it could mean so much more. The little ways in which we serve people have much more impact than we realize.
Jesus made this really cool statement one time while talking to His followers, He said, “Anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name, because you belong to the Messiah, will certainly not lose their reward.” The idea that giving a person a cup of water has great spiritual implications is mind blowing! The fact that God actually takes notice of the small ways in which we serve is amazing! Now the context in which Jesus makes this statement was to provide an extreme example to his followers that there were more people for Him than what they realized. But the truth that we can take from this statement is that the small ways in which we serve people are not overlooked by God! He takes notice, in fact, He rewards!
Let me encourage you and say no matter how small you think your act of service may seem to you, it is so important in God’s kingdom and can have a big impact on the one you serve. Helping that elderly gentleman that day seemed like a small thing and honestly, I just responded to a need and didn’t think much about it. But it was so much more in his eyes. I think the fact that someone cared meant more to him than having a warm jacket. When we get the opportunity to serve others, no matter how big or small, we get an opportunity to demonstrate God’s great love for humanity. Like a small pebble thrown in a pond can leave great ripples, so our little acts of service can create great ripples of joy in the kingdom of God.
Harvey Cozart, Director of Operations
Doctor of Ministry, Asbury Theological Seminary
Decades of experience leading a variety of ministries
A comic book nerd and college basketball star at EKU