And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)
In reading Matthew 10:42, the Jews would have understood “these little ones” as referring to scholars of a rabbi. So, in the context in which Jesus is speaking, Jesus was referring to His twelve Apostles. However, we gain a deeper understanding once we get to Matthew 25:40, where Jesus states, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
From Matthew 25:40, we learn that Christ looks upon acts of kindness done to even the weakest godly people and will reward us as if we had done them to Jesus. Though our love and compassion must not be limited only to believers, yet it must be chiefly shown to those of the household of faith.
I find it fascinating that Jesus tells us to be sure to act compassionately to everyone but especially to our brothers and sisters for Jesus lives in them. God’s relationship to humanity is different for His children than for those that remain lost. It is worth all of our sacrifices, both big and small, which we make for others from our love of God. He does not ignore or dismiss our actions. I thank God for that.