“DO NOTHING OUT OF SELFISH AMBITION OR VAIN CONCEIT. RATHER, IN HUMILITY VALUE OTHERS ABOVE YOURSELVES, NOT LOOKING TO YOUR OWN INTERESTS BUT EACH OF YOU TO THE INTERESTS OF THE OTHERS. IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH ONE ANOTHER, HAVE THE SAME MINDSET AS CHRIST JESUS.“
JOHN 13: 4-5
“SO HE GOT UP FROM THE TABLE, TOOK OFF HIS ROBE, WRAPPED A TOWEL AROUND HIS WAIST, AND POURED WATER INTO A BASIN. THEN HE BEGAN TO WASH THE DISCIPLES’ FEET, DRYING THEM WITH THE TOWEL HE HAD AROUND HIM.”
In John 13, Jesus and his closest followers were getting together for a meal. Unexpectedly, Jesus kneels down and begins to wash the disciples’ feet. In our culture today, we do not usually practice washing feet when we arrive somewhere, but in Jesus’s time, it was commonplace. They consistently traveled through cities with only sandals on their feet, and it was the custom of the time to have the dust and dirt cleansed off, and this job was not done by the host but by a servant. So when Jesus got down on His hands and knees and began wiping their dirty feet, His disciplines refused Him at first. They objected to the fact that their leader and teacher would perform such a lowly task. Remember — their shoes were not Air Jordans; they were open-toe sandals, so the buildup of grime on their feet was surely something to behold.
The most surprising twist in all of this is that Jesus also washed the feet of Judas, the man He knew was going to betray Him. If I had been in Jesus’ place, and I knew Judas was about to sell my life to satisfy his greed, I would not be getting down on my hands and knees to scrub the dirt from his toes. But Jesus did it anyway. He lovingly washed Judas’ feet along with the rest of them, showing us, in an intimately personal way, an example of a servants’ heart, giving and loving others regardless of what they do to us or how unloveable they may be to us. Jesus demonstrates for us how to love people with a fierce, unconditional love and how to serve them in the same way that you would serve another person that treats you well. This love can extend to those far from us as well as those most near, even the ones right within our homes. They are not exempt from needing love, and we are not exempt from being called to serve them lovingly.
As followers of Jesus, we are to become more and more like Him. But how do we do this? How do we love the unlovable, serve those who will never say thank you or serve us back? This task often feels unreachable, especially when we are tired or overwhelmed ourselves. However, we can trust that Jesus will give us what we ask by praying. Love is a gift and a byproduct of His Spirit living within us. He loves to surprise us, and if you ask, He can surprise you with a contagious joy and the heart of a servant to an extent that you have never experienced before. He has more than enough for us and for those in our lives.
“Dear Lord, I thank you for giving me a desire to want to put others before myself, to serve and to love them with your character and love. Give me hands to pour out to those that need it, ears to listen, and eyes to see the people around me as you created them to be.”