I Was Thirsty
By Kathy Thomas
Horrified by what I had just done, I clasped my hand over my mouth, gasping in disbelief. How could I have done something so stupid? My good intentions of sharing the love of Jesus had just morphed into a disastrous failure with potentially explosive consequences. Hopefully, the poor man would forget where I lived, before my absent-minded witnessing took its toll.
A year earlier, I had fallen deeply in love with Jesus and decided that I wanted to utilize every opportunity God provided to teach my preschool children to see every man, woman, and child who crossed our paths, as a divine appointment personally arranged by God, so that we could share the love of Jesus.
One sweltering summer morning, as we headed out for a daylong adventure, we noticed that our neighborhood had hired a tree service to trim the monstrous hundred-year-old oaks that canopied our streets. That evening, as we returned home, exhausted from the blistering Florida sun, we were amazed to see a solitary tree man still working diligently, right in front of our driveway. The rest of his team had given up and gone home to escape the miserable heat.
As we unloaded the car, the children watched him carefully and decided that he must have grown quite hungry and thirsty by now. We rushed inside to make him a plate of cookies and some refreshing iced tea. I hurriedly crammed some tea bags into the automatic tea maker. Noticing that they had no labels, I remembered that my cheap generic tea always brewed tastelessly weak, so I doubled the amount of tea bags. I wanted to present this man with our best offering, so he would experience the powerful love of Jesus.
Excited to fulfill their divine appointment, the children scurried out the door with their plate and pitcher full of Jesus’ love. At first, the man was speechless. Then, his voice shook with exhaustion and emotion as he recounted how he had passed dozens of streets and hundreds of houses that day, and no one had even offered him a glass of water.
He gratefully scarfed down half of the cookies and stuffed the other half into his pockets. Parched, he chugged several glasses of iced tea and filled his thermos with the rest. Obviously moved by the children’s thoughtfulness, he thanked them profusely and returned to his grueling work for another hour or so, stopping every now and then for some more tea and cookies.
Beaming with mother’s pride, I reminded my children of Jesus’ words as they watched him pack up his truck and drive away:
“For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:35-40 NKJV)
As I returned to the kitchen to clean up after our fruitful evening of ministry, my heart sank, when I realized what I had done. The tea bags I had used to make the tree man’s “pitcher full of love” were not generic tea bags at all! They were actually bags of herbal “cleansing” tea… as in laxative tea… and I had doubled them!
My sudden panic frightened the children. So, to the best of my ability, I explained my mistake using preschool verbiage. My son matter-of-factly blurted, “Jesus said, ‘Whatever you did to the least of these, you did it to Me.’ Boy, Mom! If that was Jesus, He sure is going to be mad at you in the morning!”
In spite of my horribly flawed lesson, my two oldest children have grown to become hospitable adults, who rarely miss an opportunity to share the love of Jesus… and never drink my tea.
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Kathy Thomas is a former model, homeschooling mother of four, and grandmother who enjoys farm life with her family near Ormond Beach, Florida. God constantly uses their personal building, cultivating, and shepherding experiences on their “Funny Farm” to teach them deep, powerful, and yes… sometimes humorous and humbling lessons concerning His kingdom mission. Kathy hopes to encourage others in their journey of faith through sharing hindsight, laughter, and the truth of God's written word.
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