I may have forever lost my chance to get a NAMB appointment this past week and I might have to turn in my Baptist credentials or something. I drank every drop of the contents of the can you see on the right here and I enjoyed doing it (I also took this photo in a Lutheran church so who knows what is happening to me). I am writing a little tongue-in-cheek, although some may take me too seriously to be sure. This little can of water got me thinking this past week. I would like to share some of those thoughts with you.
There is often a great deal of discussion about alcohol on this blog and I am not about to open that can of worms again (if someone tries to derail this comment thread with another alcohol argument I will delete the comments myself, unless Dave beats me to it). Suffice it to say that I cannot find a single verse that says something like “thou shalt not make beer.” I don’t drink beer or any other alcohol for that matter as a point of personal preference and conscience, but I have to hand it to the folks at Anheuser-Busch for the work they do getting drinking water into disaster areas.
I spent four days last week serving as a Disaster Relief Chaplain in flood-ravaged Minot, ND. We were asked to come in by the Red Cross in order to provide some care and calm in the shelters they are currently administering for those who have been displaced by flooding in and around the area. By all accounts, our ministry has been of great benefit already in meeting that need and I am looking forward to going back in again during the coming weeks as I have opportunity (most likely this week as well). During my time there, I saw these cans of water at the shelter. I have heard of them before (notably after Katrina), but unless you are in a disaster area where water is needed desperately you may never see one in person. I have to give props to SBC Disaster Relief as well. Since very early in this disaster we have had folks on the ground offering all kinds of help: water, clothing, personal items, food and so forth. The first trip I made to the area almost four weeks ago was with a mission team to deliver a trailer full of bottled water and other supplies in fact.
After seeing the cans, I was reflecting on the words of Matthew 25, so much so that I preached on that passage this past Sunday. It strikes me that the folks who came up with the idea of doing this at Anheuser-Busch are exactly like those who are mentioned in Matthew 25. When told that they saw the King thirsting and gave Him water to drink, these people are befuddled. They never even realized what they had done. Frankly, it probably doesn’t occur to some of us religious folks just how stunning this passage is until we put it in a context like this.
There are lots of believers who take this kind of thing to heart and heed the words of Jesus, but we have to be completely honest. There are also those who claim to be believers who never give a second thought to passing out some water to those in need or meeting the needs of those around them. And that brings me back to the stunning image that Jesus’ words evoke. I imagine these are the folks who will be completely shocked on that day, when Jesus says well done good and faithful servant to a guy or guys from Anheuser-Busch and tells the “believer in their own mind” that He never knew them.
P.S. Just so you know, the water doesn’t really taste great (it is kind of metallic from the can), but I am pretty sure it is less filling. And the Lutheran church referenced above is housing a few of us SBC disaster relief workers in their facility just north of our church where the command post is located.