I've just read-again-the story of Jesus washing His disciples' feet (John 13:1-17). I always read this story as a "how to be a good Christian" manifesto.
Serve. Serve willingly. Serve humbly. Serve joyfully. Serve others as unto the Lord.
Surely this passage demonstrates the hearts of service we are to cultivate. This morning, however, I thought about this passage from another angle: the disciple being served.
Simon Peter balks at Jesus washing his feet. He simply can't stand to see Jesus doing the work that society deems to be the work of lowly slaves.
This is me. I'm Simon Peter. The reasons for my refusal to let the savior cleanse me are multi-faceted.
I don't want him to see how dirty my feet are. I don't what him to touch my filth. I am ashamed I've not kept my feet cleaner. I'm afraid he'll be disgusted. Angry. Unable or unwilling to clean me.
And maybe it is more than that. Maybe I'm too proud to admit I need my feet cleaned. Maybe I like the dirt and wear it as a badge. Maybe I believe that I won't be as happy or fulfilled if I am clean. Maybe I'm simply too stubborn and too hard-hearted to let him serve me.
I'm that girl--always willing to help but never willing to accept help even when I really need it. Always scolding others for not reaching out but never reaching out. Saying "things are going well" and "I'm okay" and "I've got it taken care of" when my world is falling apart and I am breaking into a million pieces and everything is in chaos.
I won't accept the service. I won't accept the help. I'll say, "no thank you. I'll clean my feet myself" to my friends, my family, and my God.
Why is it so hard to simply be real and to admit that I'm not okay and things aren't okay and I need someone to care for me--to refresh my tired soles (soul)? I get so caught up in the wash, wash, wash, serve, serve, serve mentality that I've totally missed it.
There is a blessing that comes along with allowing yourself to be vulnerable and with allowing yourself to BE served. It is humbling to be served. It can be shameful to ask for help but what friend really begrudges such a request? It is hard to say "this is who I am and this is where I am. Dirty. Broken. A complete mess!" And yet Jesus accepts that--prefers it even to our facades.
How much more would the Kingdom advance if we got past the feel good service level tot he messy, ugly, shredded "please help me because I can't do this alone" level?
We are the body. It is a beautiful thing letting willing hands tend tired feet for when both are properly used and refreshed, we are more able to fulfill the calling.
It's about serving--this faith. This life.
But it's about being real and humbling ourselves enough to be served.