Extending the promise of God’s grace still further, Jesus said, And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward.
Little ones are believers who seem insignificant and unimportant (cf. Matt. 18:3–1; 25:31–46). They might be new believers who are untaught and are stumbling in their new life; or they might be lifelong believers whose devoted years of service have attracted little attention. Jesus’ point is that any service done to any of His people in His name amounts to service to Him and will be rewarded. The simplest help given to the simplest disciple will not go unnoticed or unrewarded by God.
While a young boy in a country village in England struggled hard to study for the ministry, an old cobbler helped him in whatever ways he could. The godly man encouraged the boy spiritually and helped support him with what little money he could spare. When the young man was finally licensed to preach, the cobbler said to him, “I always had in my heart the desire to be a minister of the gospel; but circumstances never made it possible. You are doing what was always my dream but never a reality. I want you to let me make your shoes for nothing, and I want you to wear them in the pulpit when you preach. In that way I will feel you are preaching the gospel I always wanted to preach, standing in my shoes.”
Whenever we become the source of blessing for others, we are blessed; and whenever other believers become a source of blessing to us, they are blessed. In God’s magnificent economy of grace, the least believer can share the blessings of the greatest, and no one’s good work will go unrewarded.
John Calvin was banished from Geneva by ungrateful citizens who resented his giving them the full truth of God’s Word. In response to the disappointing news he said, “Most assuredly, if I had merely served man, this would have been a poor recompense. But it is my happiness that I have served Him who never fails to reward His servants to the full extent of His promise.”
MacArthur New Testament Commentary
10:42 little ones. While not excluding children, this phrase refers to all Jesus’ disciples, who are to be like little children (18:1–6, 10, 14). Jesus’ remark about reward underscores the importance of accepting and assisting even those believers who seem insignificant (25:40, 45).
Reformation Study Bible