“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:12-17 NIV)
I’m pretty uncomfortable with the idea of washing feet. I get that Christ meant it to say that we should care for each other and I’ve always been a little relieved that in this time and place there are other less “foot” ways to care for others. I’ve spent time lately praying for God to show me what modern acts can be my time of foot washing.
I’m equally uncomfortable with the notion of you washing my feet, unless I’ve paid you and you plan to paint my toenails after. Realizing that the second key part of the example also applied to me made the way to relate to the example of humility and servitude Christ gives us crystal clear.
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (John 13:8 NIV)
Serving others is about doing things that you might find uncomfortable, sometimes for the simple reason that others may find being served uncomfortable.
I was thinking last night about visiting a friend and while they were working through the week, serving them by cleaning and doing laundry, cooking and gardening and shopping. Letting them relax and enjoy a week of stress-free evenings. Maybe stopping by and watching a small child while Mom takes an hour or two to do anything – just enjoying the indulgence of some alone time. Mowing someone’s lawn without asking. Feeding a neighbor for no reason at all. Weeding a garden. Caring for a parent who’d rather I didn’t. Washing a car. Paying someone’s bill. And doing all of these things while ignoring any attempts of resistance.
Sometimes, getting someone to accept a gift of love and caring requires more effort than providing the gift itself. Maybe they have a sense of pride that won’t allow them to accept help. Or an issue with control, not believing someone else could accomplish a task the way they do it. Maybe they just feel like they don’t deserve your kindness. Find a way to help anyway.
The world calls it “random acts of kindness”. Let the people you serve see it as random, but be intentional, because when you serve others, you serve Him.
“And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ ” (Mathhew 25:40 NIV)