My New Year’s resolution this year was to drink more water. This is one of those goals that is laughably obvious and somehow difficult at the same time. If our great-grandparents saw the list of resolutions I found on the internet, they would think that humans of the future are bananas. Aside from the popular “drink more water,” I found that some of the other top goals for 2024 are exercise more, improve sleep, and cook meals at home.
Upon hearing those, Great Grandma and Great Grandpa would’ve said, “Stop your whining, you whipper-snappers!” (I don’t actually know if they would speak that way, but stay with me.) “How ‘bout you plow the fields all day and see if that’ll fix what ails you!”
But back to drinking more water…now that I’ve been meeting my goal of drinking 64-ounces of water a day for a couple weeks, I can safely say that I feel better. My mid-afternoon headaches are mostly gone. I think it also helps with those mid-afternoon snack cravings. It turns out I was more thirsty than hungry.
The thing that has helped me the most with my resolution has been my water bottle. On one side of the green, plastic jug, there are lines and numbers with 32 at the top. If I fill it up and drink two of these, I’m done! It’s measurable, which makes meeting my goal a lot easier. I know if I’ve accomplished my water-drinking for the day, and I also know if I haven’t.
Maybe it’s part of my personality, but I like quantifiable targets. I like boxes to check and lists to cross off. And being a ruler-follower (another part of my personality), I like to know if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
If you look at Jesus’ ministry, you see Him giving His followers goals and standards. Sure, there were times when He taught with stories and riddles, but by the end of His time on earth, Jesus made it plain for His disciples. “My children, I will be with you only a little longer…” Jesus says in John 13. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus offers both the goal and the test to judge if the goal is met. He tells us to be His disciples. Then he says to love each other with feet-washing, little-child-receiving, wholeness-restoring, cross-dying love. The measurement to know if we are Christ-followers isn’t how insightful our arguments are or how many degrees we have hanging on the wall. It’s how we treat each other.
In Mark 9:41, Jesus gives us the baseline action for showing that we belong to Him. “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.” So now when I’m chugging my 64-ounces of water, I can remember His words. I can be reminded that showing up and showing love all begins with something as simple as meeting a need of another person.