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Jesus Loves and Serves

(John 13:1-17)

Lesson 10 -- second quarter 1999
May 9, 1999

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications

I saw him. He walked about the school yard after the annual picnic, not visiting with friends, not organizing another volleyball game, not munching down his fourth piece of pie. No, he had a trash can in one hand while with the other he picked up discarded cups, plates and plastic ware.

I saw him again. The wedding ceremony had run its course, and people worked through their courses at the reception. Having eaten and done a bit of visiting already, I was busy looking for someone else to yak with. He was in the kitchen, not by the juice vats or the snack trays. He stood at a sink with a spray nozzle in one hand while with the other he picked up well-used plates and such-like.

I have long admired Steve's readiness to do the "small" things that I do not seem to think of doing. Though seemingly small, these tasks must be done and done dependably. But because of their apparent smallness, they easily get overlooked. Just as the feet washing was overlooked by everyone. Except Jesus. Or perhaps no one else overlooked it either; but they just couldn't do that, especially for him.

So Steve's service reminds me of the Master's service in washing His disciples' feet.

What about me reminds others of this ordinance? What about you does that for others? We practice the ordinance itself, and that is commendable. But would we do it if those feet really did need to be washed? The real answer lies not in our heads but in the daily proof of our current lives of "menial" service to others.

Let's go back to that big picnic. Did anyone help those parents who just did not come equipped with enough hands to hold all those plates at the potluck tables? Who made sure the drip from that juice jug had a rag to soak it up? Did anyone push swings and twirl merry-go-rounds while the parents got to play ball or just socialize? And who played ball with the younger ones after the older ones wandered off the playing field? Makes me want to sigh, because my answer to each one is, "Not I." But somehow I think I would wash your feet if you had walked barefoot through two miles' worth of dust. I wonder what makes me think so!

Another challenge to be faced here is that of finding the spiritual applications to this kind of service. People's lives and hearts get smudged in the course of living. How can I work with God to wash my brother's spiritual feet...without judging or condemning him for getting them dirty in the first place? Think about that.

Oh, I left unsaid a vital piece of information about Steve. As I write this, he is not a Christian, though his wife and children follow the Master. So along with admiration for Steve, what other kinds of sentiments do you think fill my heart...about me and my service?

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