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 13:14-15
Last week I recounted the blessings I’ve received from helpful friends and family due to my fall a few weeks ago. As the blessings continue to pour in, I’ve been thinking about how we respond to offers of help. How many times has someone said to you, “Let me know if you need something” or “Can I bring you a meal?”
I’m serious. Think about that question. Take a moment and really try to recall the times you’ve offered to help someone or they’ve offered to help you.
Now, here’s the hard part. What was your response? Did you accept the help? What was their response? Did the person let you help?
When Christ washed the disciples’ feet, Peter objected. He didn’t want Christ to do it. He struggled with the idea. Why? Because he didn’t feel right accepting help from Jesus. Why should the Son of God kneel at Peter’s feet and clean the filth from them? Because He wanted to do it.
I’ve heard a lot of sermons about Christ washing the disciples’ feet, but they focus on the value of serving others. But what about Christ’s message in verses 14 and 15? He tells the disciples they should do as He did. They should wash each others’ feet. We tend to focus on the act of washing, the service given. What about the receiving? Christ told them to do both.
He told them to do both!
How often have you turned down someone’s offer to help because you felt like you shouldn’t accept their service? If you’re being honest, you probably do it without thought. Someone offers to help. You’re touched, but you don’t accept their service. You say you’re fine, it’s not necessary. When you do this, you stop someone from following Christ’s direction: you also should wash one another’s feet.
If we say no, then whose feet will get washed? No one’s!
I’m guilty of this. I get it. We think, I’m not the person they should be serving. I’m not the one who needs it, but Christ said you are. He said to do it for each other. That means giving as well as receiving.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve learned to accept the beauty of receiving help from others. I hated that I had to receive it, but each time someone did something for me, it felt wonderful. I saw the kindness and beauty of their souls. It’s hard to accept help, I know. But when we turn down someone’s help, we’re letting our own pride get in the way of their efforts to do as Christ told them.
How can we develop a spirit of service if we don’t let others serve us, too? If we’re only on the giving end of things, how can any of us ever do as Christ says? We must serve, but we also must be served.