“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you
also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an
example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
While we should not quibble with those who believe Jesus instituted an ordinance of washing feet in John 13, we must take care lest we miss its most profound meaning: stooping to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter how menial the task.
Sin-tainted egos keep us from serving one another as Jesus served. We don’t mind serving those we perceive to be great or important or prominent. But to wash Simon Peter’s feet? Never! After all, he denied he had any relationship with Christ. Shall we wash Thomas’ feet? We can’t do it, for he doubted the resurrection of Christ. What about Judas Iscariot? No way! He goes down in history as the infamous betrayer. And, yet, Jesus stooped to serve Simon Peter, Thomas and Judas, along with nine others. All had dirty feet. All were imperfect believers. All had sinned and were falling short of the glory of God.
We can’t pick and choose the ones we should serve—at least, we should not. Our sovereign Lord brings into our circle those he wants us to serve. Do we resist? Are pride and a hard heart keeping me from stooping? Is it beneath us to inconvenience ourselves to take the time?
While our spiritual gifts vary, each gift is given by God to be used in service of others: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pet. 4:10). Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) said, “The real test of the saint is not preaching the gospel, but washing disciples’ feet; that is, doing the things that do not count in the actual estimate of men but count everything in the estimate of God.”*
Who was it who washed feet in John 13? Our Lord and Teacher! If our Lord and Teacher stooped to serve, the servant is not above his Lord. Whose feet is the Spirit calling you to wash? Let’s serve the servants of Christ with joy, as Jesus did.
*Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, 2/25.
Taken from . . .
Breath of God: Experiencing Life in the Spirit
Copyright © 2013
Ralph I. Tilley