Thursday, April 13, 2017

Improving "Our Serve"

#TBT -- Today is the ultimate #throwbackthursday.
Years ago, my husband was the Director of a Christian Summer Youth Camp in Oklahoma. He pretty well “ran the show” – the camp activities, schedules, oversaw all the camp leaders, counselors, and volunteers, the daily outdoor church services, etc. I oversaw the kitchen, the meals and serving the campers and volunteers. Other than the satisfaction of seeing those hungry, then satisfied campers, there wasn’t much glory being a kitchen volunteer. The days were long, early morning to late, and without air conditioning...very warm, while standing on our tired, hurting feet from those hard, concrete floors. By the end of the week, our poor feet had had it. The last day, to our amazement, Ron and a few other camp leaders came to the dining room and kitchen, and asked all of us kitchen workers to sit down and with basins and towels, they commenced to serve us by washing our tired and weary feet and praying blessings on us for our service. Tears of gratitude fell from our eyes. Our service had been noticed and we were rewarded by hearts of servitude to us.

So, I can only imagine, after their Passover Meal together, the shock and wonder when Jesus’ disciples saw Him take up the basin and the towel and began to wash their feet. He was their Master! He was their Lord! In the days of Jesus, foot washing was typically done by the servants of one’s household, and it wasn’t exactly a glamorous job. People’s feet got really dry, dirty, calloused and cracked when they walked for miles in their sandals. To wash someone’s feet was truly an act of hospitality, servitude and humility. No wonder Peter told Jesus, “You will never wash my feet.” Not Jesus. Not his Master. Not ever. But, Jesus, the One Who was celebrated as a King just days before, became a Servant and to Peter He said, "Unless I wash you, you won't belong to me." Peter replied “Lord, not just my feet! Wash my hands and my head too!”

There Jesus, with His wash basin and His towel, knelt in front of them one by one and washed their feet, calluses and all. When He was done, He told them why. “I’m setting an example for you. You also should do what I have done to you.” In that moment, I wonder if the disciples finally ‘got it’. They had been hand-selected by Jesus from the crowds, so they were special. But Jesus didn’t call them from the crowds of farmers and fishermen so that they would enjoy a greater status. He called them to serve, to carry on His ministry of loving and caring for people. I’m sure they must have thought “What in the world are we going to do?”

Jesus prepared His disciples to carry on. I think that’s Jesus’ message to you and me, too. Today, we are the ones standing in front of people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds, who are all suffering from their own brokenness and in need of a Savior. Like the disciples having those “What in the world are we going to do?” moments, so do we. And like the disciples remembering His example, with His wash basin and towel, so also do we remember. He’s saying, “See? It’s simple. I’m sending you out into the world, into those crowds of people from whom I called you. Your job? Just love them.”

It certainly gives me pause for asking the question: "Am I a devoted follower of Christ....even to the cross to bear witness of Him and His love for me?" I continue to take those words of Peter to Jesus to heart today. "Lord, wash me, cleanse me, purify me so that I too may be presented as a vessel of honor to You. I've said it before, I say it again "The purer the vessel the greater the flow". What an incredible flow of mercy, love, forgiveness, servitude and sacrifice that flowed from Jesus then, and continues to flow to us today. Oh Lord, may we be your servants today -- to follow, serve and love You, and others, as You served and loved.