From Sole to Soul
Posted on August 24, 2013
Most people wouldn’t list their feet as one of their more attractive features. Feet are actually quite odd looking. At least mine are. The toe next to my big toe sticks out farther than my big toe. And, all the running doesn’t help. Calluses have multiplied with the miles, and my toenails are sometimes disgusting. Sorry for the visual. Runners aren’t the only ones who sacrifice feet for sport. My friend Julie had to have her big toenails removed after they took a beating downhill skiing. They turned black. Sorry, again. Soon, she’ll walk 60 miles to help fight breast cancer, which won’t improve her flip flop appeal. I’ve decided, however – and Julie seems to agree – it’s worth it to forfeit a few foot model jobs for miles of adventure.
Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet … “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” John 13:5, 8
Washing feet is undesirable, but it’s worse when the feet are dirty and stinky. The disciples were probably wearing sandals, and their feet must have been disgusting from travel. Yet, Jesus tended to them as a servant. He was practical – they needed cleaning, humble – recall visuals from the paragraph above, and in the moment – serving those He loved, right where they were. And, I believe He didn’t wrinkle His nose or dramatically hold His breath in the process, as I might have. Those types of service opportunities exist for us daily, and we’re called to seize them. John’s gospel goes deeper with the message of forgiveness, the cleansing of our sins through Jesus’ death. But, there’s more … the disciples had to accept His service to be cleansed, and their acceptance is something to emulate. We’re not only called to serve others as Jesus modeled, but we’re called to accept Him and the cleansing He offers. How? One way is to heed His voice and accept His service when it comes from others. We encounter innumerable people on our life’s path, and each is specifically placed by God to impact our journey. Some we view as very helpful. Some we consider annoying, useless to us, or a downright obstruction. He has allowed them all to be there, however, and their purpose is to somehow bring us closer to Him. Is this service from God? It seems contrary to what we consider “service”, but it’s the greatest service of all. “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” That annoying or hurtful person you can’t avoid may be part of the team sanding some rough edges on your heart. The person with whom you continually disagree may be working on some prideful blockades you’ve erected. We’ll struggle to understand why some are allowed into our life, but we can trust He’s in control and their presence will impact our journey for good. It’s easy to serve those we love and gratefully accept their service. They’re nice and think like we do. But, maybe He’s trying to cleanse us with a difficult person we desperately need in our life to become closer to Him. If we don’t accept the service, we may continue as a dirty, stinky foot with disgusting, black toenails. Sorry, again.
Dear God, please help us want to serve others and accept the cleansing You offer. Amen.