February 13, 2012

Dear Friends,

Northwest Nazarene University each year offers a “Wesley Conference”.  It was held last week and the theme was “A Cup of Cold Water: Christians in Compassionate Service.”  The scriptural reference is Matthew 10:42.  “Whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”  I have eight pages of notes.  I’m not much of a note taker, so eight pages means I was pretty impressed.  We have a new ministry team focused on community outreach.  I’m going to want to meet with them soon to share what I learned.  Are you reading this Ric?  I don’t want to dump eight pages on you now.  Let me just share one story. Gabriel Salguero gave the keynote address.  He is a Nazarene pastor serving Lamb’s Church on Manhattan Island’s lower east side.  He also writes a regular column for the “Washington Post”.  In one of his columns he wrote passionately in favor of immigration reform.  It didn’t surprise him to receive hate mail in response.  But one of these letters was particularly disturbing.  After 13 pages of hateful venom, the last page had on it a picture of him decapitated.  He reported this to the police.  He expressed concern that he had a 4-year-old son in daycare and a threat on his life could be a threat on his son’s life.  He went to pick up his son, escorted by police.  His son had a question:  “Daddy, are the police here because you did something good?”The Bible says there’s a reward attached to offering that cup of cold water.  But the reward may not be in this life.  Often compassionate service in the name of Jesus is costly.  We could do a cost/benefit analysis and conclude it’s not worth it.  But I don’t think Christians have that option.  If we are going to follow Jesus we have to follow him all the way.  To quote Gabriel Salguero, “Radical hospitality is going to cost you.  Do it anyway.” In Christ, Pastor John Watts