Rewards for Support
In Matthew 10: 40 – 42, Yeshua said, "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives Him who sent me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophetís reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous manís reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."
What does it mean to receive a prophet, a righteous man, or a disciple of Jesus? I believe that it means to receive their message, to believe that it is true, to take it into our heart and implement it into our life, but it goes further than that. How would a person receive a prophet's reward? One way, could mean that the person receives the benefit of the prophet's waiting upon God, which is the revelation that the prophet shares, but the last part indicates that receiving means even more than that. Receiving involves supporting the person's ministry, so that their good message can be spread abroad to others.
Support can consist of monetary contribution, but it is not limited to that. I can involve billeting such a person while they are in one's area, advertising for them by word of mouth, putting up posters to advertise their meetings, doing voluntary service to them in secretarial or janitorial work, giving them a ride to meetings and other places, speaking encouraging words to them, praying for their ministry and their personal integrity, and any other way that God drops it into one's heart to assist them. When people participate in a ministry in this manner, they are included in rewards that God prepared for that person in Heaven. It does not dip into what the prophet would have received; additional rewards are provided for the assistants.
Receiving a righteous man means to recognize that they are a good person and being supportive, such as sticking up for them when they are slandered, being friendly when they have otherwise been ostracized for a righteous stand so that they are not too lonely, praying for them in their tribulations, helping them to receive favour to get a job or a place to live, etc.
Receiving a disciple probably means that one does whatever they can to assist a person who is earnest about getting deep into the Word of God and learning how to do ministry. This can be done through encouragement, giving them materials to read that will help them, helping to provide tuition to Bible school or to take outside courses, and refraining from being quick to judge when they make mistakes, or what seems to be mistakes. There are some disciples who are very zealous for God and willing to do strange stuff that He has instructed them to do, who have been misunderstood and vilified by other Christians who are quick to speak, but their strangeness turned out to be a very effective aspect of their training.
In Matthew 12, an illustration shows up of how some religious–minded people missed out on a supreme opportunity to be a blessing to not only God's ministers, but to the Messiah Himself! Yeshua and His disciples were walking through a wheat field one Saturday morning. The boys were hungry, so they pulled off some stalks of wheat, rubbed the chaff off in in their hands, and ate the grains.
Lo and behold, some Pharisees observed them and started to criticize them for "working" on the Sabbath day. Hello? Wasn't it the custom in Israel at that time for travelling ministers to be provided with food and shelter free of charge? Those Pharisees should have offered the guys a meal, at least, if not billet them in their homes. What a reward they missed out on! These "vagabonds" were the Founder and the fathers of the Church!
But they did not recognize what these travellers were. They judged them for their dusty clothing and hair that needed to be combed. They did not wear the religious garments of the usual Torah teachers, they did not carry imposing–looking scrolls, they did not come with letters of recommendation.
A lot of people have said that Jesus never said that He was God, but they are so wrong. He said it many times, and this was one of those times. First He rebuked the Pharisees for their lack of compassion and generosity, pointing out that when David was running for his life, the priest at Nob gave him and his men the showbread from the day before, which wasn't lawful for anyone outside of the priesthood to eat. He also pointed out that priests profane the Sabbath by working on that day in the service of the Temple, and then He said that one greater than the Temple was standing before them. Who could possibly be greater than the Temple? Only God Himself.
Since the priests who serve the Temple are blameless before God for serving the Temple, these Pharisees would have been blameless before God if they had served Yeshua and His disciples a meal on that day. And their lives would have been blessed for it!
These guys wanted to be spiritual leaders, but they were not eligible by tribal affiliation to be priests. They studied Torah and religious books, nonetheless, and got themselves rigged up in fancy clothes, and established an etiquette that determined inclusion in their circles to make themselves feel important. They got so puffed up that they thought they were more important, as spiritual leaders, than the priests of the Temple, too important to serve the Lord of Creation on the Sabbath day. Their self–righteousness blinded them to that dusty, very human–looking Man's identity and prevented them from obtaining a great reward.
Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.