We are in the midst of a fiendish heat wave here in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Over a week of temperatures above 90 degrees. Local news reporters are telling us that the air quality is so poor, we should stay indoors in the air conditioning. For our family, if we are not swimming, we have indeed been staying indoors in the welcomed synthetic climate.
The other evening after dinner, I sat out on our front porch while Joshua and Gabrielle played in our yard contently with some of their neighborhood friends. The air was still rather oppressive that time of day, but it had eased up just a touch and we all wanted to get outside.
A distinguished looking man with a friendly countenance walked at a purposeful pace down the sidewalk. Quickly observing an aide assisting him with campaign literature, I knew he must be a hopeful politician running for a government office.
As he strode up our driveway and reached out his hand to shake mine, it was clear that his body was struggling with the stifling heat. His brow was glistening with large beads of sweat. His breathing was slightly labored. His once perfectly-ironed shirt was now soaked with perspiration.
His efficient greeting was an effort to politely keep cadence so he could complete his neighborhood campaign and find necessary relief from the heat. As he introduced himself to me, he handed me his literature and asked me to consider voting for him in the autumn elections. With empathy, I had the same efficiency in sincere decorum and kept him moving along toward toward his new goal of air conditioning. I told him with goodwill and brevity that my husband and I would read his information and prayerfully consider voting for him.
As he thanked me, I said "God bless you". For a moment, as if pleasantly surprised by the blessing, he paused his pace, looked me in the eyes and thanked me again.
All the children had kept playing during this brief encounter, but I knew Joshua was taking notice. As the man was walking down our driveway toward our neighbor's home, Joshua said, "Mommy, that man and his helper look very hot. I was just thinking I would like to give them some cold water. He has wet spots all over his shirt, and cold water would help him."
My heart rejoiced in Joshua's sensitive and responsive heart. He genuinely cared and discerned the condition and needs of our unexpected callers. He and his friend ran inside and got two large bottles of cold water. They dashed across our yard, met the visitors on our neighbor's porch and cheerfully handed them the bottles of cold water.
I prayed quietly that these two precious souls would see the love and gentleness of Christ through the kindness of a 7-year old boy and his friend who gave them a cup of cold water.
Just a few hours earlier that day as I was listening to Christian radio, the pastor (who happens to be Jim's cousin, Bobby Guaglione from Calvary Chapel of Delaware County) was teaching from Mark 9:41, "I tell you the truth, anyone who gives a cup of water in My Name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward." I was amazed and humbled how God allowed me to see our son living out those exact truths from God's Word that evening.
Joshua's reward was a personal treasure of joy in his heart between himself and our Heavenly Father. I could see the quiet contentment on Joshua's face as the waving man rounded the corner, each step getting closer to his respite from the heat.
"He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV) We pray our children are always those vibrantly healthy trees, whose roots are planted firmly in the Living Water. May He cause their leaves to always be green, even in the heat, and may their lives bear fruit naturally because they abide in Him.
We pray our visitor was refreshed in the Lord during those brief moments on Valley View Way and by that cup of cold water. Our hearts were refreshed in God's goodness. "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)
Joshua had just served our Lord and King a cool cup of water with a pure heart. He was walking in the truth of God's Word. There is no greater joy indeed.
"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40 (NIV)