I looked out the window and gasped. The snow that had blanketed the ground in an unbroken carpet of white now lay heaped in two ridges on either side of my newly plowed driveway! Using his bladed 4-wheeler, my neighbor had freed our vehicles from their weather-inflicted imprisonment in the garage.
I called to thank him and he brushed me off, reminding me of how I used to baby-sit his son in years gone by. Stunned, I protested, "But that was 15 to 20 years ago!"
A single dad fighting a bitter custody battle, he didn't want to leave his son unattended at morning bus stops or home alone on days when weather emergencies prompted early school closures. He'd asked if the boy could stay with me at such times. It was an easy way to help him out of a tough spot.
And now let a mere inch of snow fall from the sky and he plows it out of our way. Fruit baskets appear at our door every Christmas; mums and painted pumpkins come in the fall. He's watered our gardens and watched our pets when we've left town on vacation. He can't forget a simple kindness done for him so long ago.
If our actions in the physical realm have such far-reaching implications, imagine the result of the same in the spiritual one. My neighbor's favor will last only until we no longer live across the street from each other. But the rewards for good deeds done during our brief stay on earth are ours to enjoy all eternity long.
And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."
(Matthew 10:42 NIV)