So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. – John 13
In 2015 my husband and I took a mission trip to Haiti. I learned a lot while I was there but more than anything else I learned what it meant to serve others unconditionally. More obvious to that was what I got out of it which was blessings around every corner.
Overall two moments stand out and hold a very special place in my heart. One I will tell you about in another post. But the other I will share today…We took one afternoon to visit elderly people. These people lived in small tin rooms or less. That was their home. Most had little to no opportunity to move about their communities for food, etc. We brought them a meal, sang with them, prayed with them, and just visited. Our first stop was to a married couple. They had two plastic lawn chairs outside of their tin house and that’s where they sat down when we came. I was drawn to them almost immediately. Like the spirit was telling me this was my time. I went and grabbed a bottle of lotion that we had with us. I kneeled at the feet of the man and I began to massage his weathered hands and his dry and cracked legs. While my friends sang songs in a circle around us I was serving this man. Tears filled my eyes at the simple act of moisturizing his dry skin. But it was more than that. He spoke a different language but at that moment it didn’t matter. I looked into his eyes and he looked at me and he flashed me a huge smile. I was so grateful for that time to serve him and to love him. This stranger that I know I would likely never see again. God knew I needed that Haitian man at that very moment and I was humbled to serve him. I am forever grateful and was so filled with peace for that the blessing of that man.
In our story today Washing His Disciples’ Feet Jesus lays down the real act of service as an example for his disciples. He wants them to see him serving them so they can turn around and do the same to others. This may be another familiar story for you – but please don’t overlook the meaning for you in today’s world. Listen to the words and visualize the actions of Jesus in this story. It was relevant then and is relevant today. Now more than ever we need to service others.
Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.
Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet – ever!”
Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”
“Master! said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”
Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you.” (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you.”) After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.
Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it – and live a blessed life.
Last week we learned that our local food shelf desperately needed paper bags for the increase in demand for food. Our family gathered all of our brown grocery bags and delivered it to their drop off bin outside. Last week I checked in with an elderly neighbor to make sure that he and his wife were okay and to let them know if they needed ANYTHING like meals or groceries to call us. Last week our family donated money to a local catering company so they can feed four people in need a hot meal. Just today I learned that the same local food shelf needs diapers so I ordered two extra large boxes from Amazon that I will deliver to them by the end of the week. I learned through Facebook that our family dentist just donated 300 masks to the NICU of a local Children’s Hospital. This week our family is putting inspiring chalk messages on our driveway now that there is so much more foot traffic of families taking walks by our home. Just today a couple walked by and chuckled at one of the messages: “You can’t make everyone happy. You aren’t a taco”.
Friends – you are needed more than ever to service others. Please don’t use social distancing as an excuse to not think about others. If you are nervous and don’t want to leave your house, there are so many opportunities to help – just think a bit outside the box. Your community needs YOU to be a blessing to them and I guarantee in return they will be a blessing right back to you.