“When he had finished washing their feet, Jesus put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 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 13:12-15
Serving others can be amazing! There are occasions when we feel empowered by participating in a transformation – that’s why I love home makeover shows so much. The opportunity to give back to someone who really needs the help, is encouraging and gives us hope. Seeing the freedom of letting go of excess baggage (emotional and physical), cleaning up and remaking a space is empowering. I love Habitat for Humanity house dedications for the reason that all the hands who helped are invited to bless the family making a home in the place where they worked.
Sometimes, serving others is hard. Especially when it means serving someone who has betrayed you. God’s ability to forgive far exceeds mine. Jesus washed the feet of all his disciples, even his betrayer. Knowing that they would all abandon and deny him in his time of need, he washed their feet. He humbled himself and served them. Then he challenged them to serve one another. It’s not difficult for me to serve someone else, when I feel they deserve it. But Jesus tells us to serve others whether we think they deserve it or not. He was willing to wash their dirty, stinky feet, knowing that it was their hearts and attitudes that really stunk. Whom is God asking me to serve today? Is it someone I feel deserves, or needs my service, or is it my enemy? How is God asking me to humble myself and care for the needs of someone else, even if I don’t like that person, or their attitude, or their politics, or the way they have hurt me in the past?
As the Body of Christ every one of us has been given spiritual gifts and opportunities to use them for God’s glory. Serving others might be the way God is calling us to use our gifts, even if it doesn’t seem to be an exciting ministry. Let’s let down our guard and take up the towel and serve one another this week.
Almighty God, By the work of your hands, you created all that is good. You formed us in Christ’s image, and you fashioned us with spiritual gifts according to your will. “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5). Created in your image, Lord, we have been made to serve and glorify you. Lord, help us to strengthen our gifts, and live empowered by your Spirit. Help us to find strength in serving one another, for we can accomplish far greater things in your name. And may we be your disciples, who help nurture and encourage the gifts of all others without envy or strife. God, we know the harvest is plentiful, so make us to labor together in the grace and love of Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
Warmly in Christ,
Rev. Hanna Peterson Shearer