Mopping Up After Baptisms

We recently celebrated the baptizing of a dozen people at our church in Mexico. After each person was immersed the praise team burst forth in a song, leading the congregation in the celebration of that person’s baptism. It was a joyous time.

The main focus of everyone there was, of course, on the folks being baptized and the two church leaders doing the baptizing. Something else caught my eye, however. There, next to the baptism tank, were a husband and wife mopping up the water that dripped from each baptized person as they emerged from the tank. After finishing mopping up the water of the last person who had emerged from the tank they had a few moments of a break to watch the next individual being baptized. Then, back to mopping up the water that dripped from the newly emerged baptized person.

It occurred to me that the husband and wife mop team were as much a part of the baptisms as were those being baptized and those doing the baptizing. The water needed mopping up, otherwise someone might fall and break a bone or crack a head in a fall. Theirs was a crucial role.

It was not lost on me that the moppers were expressing an incredibly important characteristic of what a great human being is to be like, what a disciple of Jesus should exhibit, and that was servanthood. Jesus made it clear by His own example and by His teaching that the highest position we can attain is that of serving others, and thereby serving God.

Most cultures hold to the view that the high and mighty have others serve them. The counter-cultural view that Jesus lived and taught is that those who serve are really the high and mighty ones!

We’re all given plenty of opportunities to serve others. Much of the time we prefer to pass up such opportunities! Serving others usually means personal sacrifice, not very pleasant or enjoyable.

The irony is that if we consistently resist opportunities to serve the needs of others, thinking first of all as to what is best for us, we end up feeling quite miserable. “But what about my needs?” we ask. True, our needs need meeting too. There’s a place in relationships to serve the other person by letting them know they’re being selfish and/or insensitive to our needs, but such times are more rare than we care to admit. Most of the time, in most situations, the best way to relate to others is to have a servant’s heart. Seeking to be a blessing to others more often than not is a blessing that boomerangs!

I talked to the couple with the mops after the baptisms, after their mopping was done. They seemed quite happy with how the baptisms went. I think they’re on to something!

Serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13b)

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