Following Jesus’ Example of Service
These days, the idea of touching a person’s sweaty feet after a long day in closed toe shoes can be a gross thought to many people. During ancient times, however, people wore sandals everywhere because that was the footwear of the period. Thus, feet were one of the filthiest parts of the body because they were both sweaty and dirty from all things imaginable. Due to their repugnance, the act of washing another person’s feet was seen as a great act of kindness and friendship. In moments when Jesus could have been very self-focused, He chose to be indiscriminately self-less.
Shortly before Jesus’ life came to an end, He took the time to teach His disciples about humble acts of service for God by washing their feet. (John 13:1-5) In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Even though He was the most powerful man alive at the time, Jesus sought to serve rather than be served. Despite His approaching death, Jesus’ focus remained on glorifying God and teaching righteousness so that others could be saved. John 13:14-15 reads, “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.”
Serving others can take up a lot of time, energy, and be uncomfortable. Therefore, it can be tempting to back away, or want to rush through the work. However, Jesus took the time to clean and dry the feet of each disciple. He even compassionately washed the feet of His known enemy and betrayer, Judas Iscariot. Later, Jesus gave His life so that each person’s soul can wiped clean from sin. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
No matter what season of life, or challenges God’s children may be facing when serving God, Jesus’ example is awe inspiring. The hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul” has a verse that says, “My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—My sin, not in part, but the whole, Is nailed to His Cross, and I bear it no more; Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!” How often does God’s love motivate you to be self-less?