Out Of The Styrofoam Cup

It’s amazing stuff, styrofoam.

Keeps cold things cold and hot things hot. Practically lighter than air, but oh, so effective!

Why can’t every aspect of life be like that? Would’nt it be great if things could work so well and yet be so simple. And cheap. At Wal-Mart, I got a pack of 50 for 88 cents. I was reading a Bible scripture the other day about how if a person was to just give someone a cup of water in the name of Jesus, God would give that person a pat on the back. Imagine that. A simple styrofoam cup worth one fiftieth of 88 cents….whatever that is….you do the math. A cup of water given for the right reason, and bingo! You get a prize from God. I don’t know, maybe I’m missing something. Read the scripture yourself in Mark 9:41.

The value of most things is not found in what they cost us but what they mean to the receiver.

I mean, I wish I could send millions of $ to the folks in Alabama, Missisippi and Louisiana to help clean up the mess of the hurricane. Truth is, I don’t have millions. But I can send up a prayer and I can mail a few dollars. Maybe someone needs some fresh water to drink…..and a styrofoam cup. I guess I can do that.

Whether God rewards me or not, it just seems like a good thing to do. If plain old styrofoam can have purpose and function in such a simple way, then I guess I can too.

About Gary Cleveland

An old chunk of coal waiting to become a diamond some day. I spend the bulk of my time focused on spiritual development. I teach, preach and stand by the hurting and wounded. I believe our heavenly Father offers us daily opportunities to discover who we are and what we can yet become. I serve as a bringer of good news in and around the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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3 Responses to Out Of The Styrofoam Cup

  1. 4 Levels or Less says:

    Styrofoam is amazing stuff. Although I feel crucified emotionally when I use it because of environmental concerns – there really is no comparison for a styrafoam cup holding your favorite beverage with ice on a hot, summer day.

    But I see your point here, not to slight it with the adoration of styrafoam.

    I do try to help people on real levels.

    One of my most appreciated moments, was helping an older woman in the grocery store who was bound to her electric wheelchair. She was having a heck of a time reaching any produce that was half worth her while. I wasn’t in any rush, so I put aside my own shopping to help her through the produce area. I became the height and reach she needed to get the produce that wasn’t mushed, mashed, squishy, over ripe, etc. While we didn’t chat a lot about life and what we each dreamed of for our futures, the chat we did have about the kinds of foods she likes and the kinds of foods she wanted me to pick out for her…mixed in with the greatful look of appreciation in her eyes was one I’ll keep forever.

  2. Steve Erbach says:


    I thought the previous verse in Mark 9 was interesting, too: “for whoever is not against us is for us.” A counterpoint to the security consciousness (“Anyone who isn’t with us is against us.”) the country acquired (had thrust upon us?) after Sep. 11th, 2001.

    Mark 9:41 is one of those scriptures I find a bit puzzling: “I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” It certainly seems to delineate the conditions for the reward of eternal life, but it also seems to narrow the scope of giving down to the believer in Christ. That is, if I, as one of those wanderers who hasn’t taken Christ into his heart, offer the cup of water then my reward is, I suppose, simply self-respect.

    As someone has said, though, the act of giving could perform an “alchemy of the spirit” on the wanderer.

    Steve Erbach
    Neenah, WI

  3. Gary Cleveland says:


    Your comments are insightful. I think Jesus has a concern that his followers would become convinced that they would be the sole source of goodness in the world. This would then lead them to become protective and even combative in their efforts to “protect their turf”, so to speak.

    The reward of the giver of the cup is not necessarily eternal salvation. In fact, I don’t think salvation is gained by our work. Ephesians 2:8-9. As a Christian, my service to others is a response to having been redeemed by the work of Jesus. Hence when Jesus says, “gives a cup of water in my name”refers to all good things done in the name of God’s Son. I rather believe that God is made glad when anyone gives unselfishly and to the glory of someone else other than themself. It’s a crucial step toward offering oneself on the altar as a living sacrifice to God. (Rom. 12: 1-2)

    I think God knows that if a person gives a cup of water unselfishly and in the name of Jesus…he just might expand upon that and give his life and devote his meaning and purpose to the name of Jesus. And the rewards become more eternal in nature at that point.


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