To Serve or Be Served?

Image by ArtTower from Pixabay

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.

The Blessing of Peace

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

I’ve been fairly quiet about what’s been happening in our lives lately. Mainly, it’s been a bit overwhelming, and I haven’t been prepared to share. I feel the same way today. I put my heart and soul in these posts, and sometimes it takes distance to be able to properly say what’s on my heart.

A lot is on my heart.

A lot has happened.

Today I have the windows open, and I’m enjoying the spring weather. We’re having cold mornings, temps in the 30s, but by noon, it’s in the 70s. I think I could live year round in a place that stayed in the 70s. I wonder where that is?

A peace has settled over me today. I don’t know if it will last, but I would love for a few days of this calm.

Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished
you have done for us. Isaiah 26:12

Raising grandchildren rarely offers calm, peaceful days. Most days consist of rushing to get them to school, rushing to get work done, rushing to handle homework or after school activities or doctor’s appointments. We’ve had a higher number of appointment days than usual over the past two months. Nothing alarming, just finding out things we need to know.

I wish I could say the medical appointments have been the only hurdle as of late, but they are just another aspect of our life.

Maybe next week, I’ll feel like talking about it, but for now, I’m going to take the calm and let it wash over me.

 

Raising Grandchildren: What Parents Miss

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.
Psalm 127: 3-5

A few months ago, my daughter moaned about missing the last of Victoria’s childhood and the last of Amari’s little boy years. They were nine and four when they came to live with us. At eleven, Victoria is moving into adolescence, but she’s at that point where she’s very grown up one minute, and the next, she reverts to a little girl.  Amari is six and in the first grade. He’s lost his baby cheeks and, although he’s still a little boy, he’s begun to focus on boy interests like football and basketball. Sometimes, he throws his chest out, pulls his shoulders back, and struts. It’s cute and hilarious, but I don’t tell him.

It’s sad that she’s missing this. There’s so much about them she doesn’t know and can’t share. As the Psalmist says, children bless and reward their parents. My daughter’s quiver stands empty due to her choices, and the rewards and joys fall to me and my husband.

For example, Victoria won the Science Fair at her school. First place!!!! Next week, she competes on a regional level. I grew up in an academic family. My father spent a large part of his career as the Dean of the College of Sciences at Clemson University. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology. Winning the Science Fair rates high on our “busting our buttons with pride” scale. Her mom misses out on celebrating this achievement. She doesn’t get to be here preparing Victoria for her presentation and calming her nerves.

Amari barely spoke when he came to us. Now, he talks non-stop. He loves God, he asks amazing, complicated questions, and talks to everyone. Just yesterday, I took him to a follow-up visit with the Allergist. Brave man that he is, this doctor checks Amari’s ears, throat, and nose, then he lets Amari use the otoscope to do the same on him. Amari loves it! All isn’t joy for him, though. Recently, he ran into some trouble with some boys, a precursor to bullying in the first grade! Mom wasn’t here to recognize something was wrong, comfort him, and deal with the problem. I took care of it.  I’m glad to say his teacher responded immediately to the issue, too.

Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6

It breaks my heart that my daughter continues to miss these experiences due to her poor choices. For us, we have the crowns mentioned in Proverbs living in our house. We’re tired. It’s hard work, but I can’t imagine life without them here. We are the parents in their lives, not their mom. Instead of pride about her true parents, Victoria avoids questions from classmates. They’re curious. Most of them know me, so if they ask why she’s with me, I tell them Mom can’t take care of them right now. That’s it. Nothing more needs to be said.

Hold your children close. Hold your grandchildren closer. When life becomes hard, remember they are your crown, blessing, heritage, and reward.