SERVNG WITH CHRIST — Serving Jesus by Serving Others
Probably the best image to use to show what it means to serve others is a bowl with a towel. Jesus used a bowl of water and a towel to remind His first followers how important it was for them to serve each other – and other people, too – just as He served them.
Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth He shared the Last Supper with His disciples in what we call the upper room. It was a rented room, so there was no host, who normally fulfilled – or whose servant fulfilled – the social custom of washing the guests’ feet. In those days people wore sandals, and with the dusty roads, dirty feet were a constant problem.
None of the disciples jumped to the task, but Jesus did! The apostle John, who was there and wrote this account, stated that Jesus “got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:4-5) After He was finished He said to them, “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.” (John 13:14-15)
We’re supposed to serve others as Christ has served us! Obviously Jesus wasn’t primarily referring to washing each other’s feet; He meant that we should look for all kinds of opportunities and ways to serve the needs of the people He’s placed around us.
Let me tell you how Katie and Joe, one of the young couples in our church, became engaged. Joe made sure that Katie’s parents were with her. Katie was sitting on a couch, and Joe went up to her with a bowl of water and a towel. He asked her to marry him and then asked for permission to wash her feet. While he washed her feet, he quoted from memory Ephesians 5:25-30. Part of it reads, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
Joe did two things in that unique proposal. First, he put all the rest of us men to shame: how can the way we proposed ever measure up to that? Second, and more seriously, Joe’s washing of Katie’s feet reminds us that we’re supposed to serve each of the people God puts around us, whether it’s a mate, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, a relative, or whoever!