We live in a selfish society.
We live to get ahead. We live to please our own desires. We live to be better than everyone else. We live to get all we can as fast as we can. We live to look better.
What we want, we get. What we desire, we obtain. What we want to do, we do. What we want to say, we say.
We live in a selfish society.
We think only of ourselves and we live only for ourselves.
So, knowing all of this, how do we teach servanthood or humility to our children? How do we teach it if we are living, doing, saying, and getting only for ourselves?
Short answer? We can’t, not living like that.
Long answer? With Christ…..all things are possible.
I blogged last year about our family helping an older couple at church with a project they needed done at their house. I was so proud of my kids giving up their Saturday to do work for someone else. There was no bribery involved (unless you count cookies she brought out to us ), there was no payment, there was just one family helping another family because God told us to.
My kids do for others because they’ve been raised by parents who do for others. We are parents who do for others because we were raised by parents who did (and still do) for others.
My boys do not mind rolling up their sleeves and helping someone else just for the sake of kindness and compassion. And because Christ did it.
In John 13, we see Jesus sharing the Last Supper with his disciples, He took on the servants task of washing the feet of his disciples. This was the same Passover meal that Jesus broke the bread representing His broken body. They drank of the cup that represented His blood. They would remember this day and what Christ taught them for more reasons than one!
They learned humility, and they would learn how to serve others, and they learned it from Christ’s example.
Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. (The Message)
This was a servant’s job. It’s dirty. The city is hot and dusty. The feet of the guests were gross and disgusting! When a guest came into a home, the servants washed their feet in order to not bring in the dirt and grime from the outside. (Hmmmm….anyone else see the foreshadowing there?) But He knelt down, poured water over their feet, and washed them. And He dried them with the very apron He wore. He washed the dirt and grime from them. (I think that just gave me chills……)
When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?"
Jesus answered, "You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later."
Peter persisted, "You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!"
Jesus said, "If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing."
"Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!"
Now, let me show you something for a second, I’ve never noticed this before until now. Look at the first 5 words of verse 6: When He got to Simon Peter.
Simon Peter wasn’t first. It didn’t strike me until I read it for this lesson that I noticed it. Peter didn’t jump up immediately when Jesus tied the apron around His waist. He didn’t take the towel and pitcher out of Jesus hand and insist on doing it himself! He willingly allowed Jesus to do it…..until He got to Peter. He knew this act was humiliating and demeaning, and it wasn’t a job he wanted to do himself. I imagine he was embarrassed for Jesus and for himself sitting and watching Him do it.
And Peter hadn’t learned humility yet. Not until he looked Jesus face to face and saw firsthand what humbling yourself truly was.
But how many times do we do the same thing? “Oh I won’t do that job!” “I won’t do that!” “That’s beneath me!”
(Are you embarrassed too…..or is that just me feeling the shame on my face? It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn myself. I’ve washed many dishes alone in a church kitchen in service to others. I had to learn humility as well. But I think we’ve all been there in thinking we are too good to do something.)
How humble are we? Or do we have an elevated opinion of ourselves? Really? Let’s be honest here. Take a nice, loooooo-oooong look there.
I believe Jesus was a little harsh with Peter. Did you see him suddenly change? His entire position changed. He was suddenly humble.
I love this lesson. I love seeing the foreshadowing of the Cross in here, I love seeing the realness of the situation, and I love the object lesson they learned literally at the feet of Jesus. He went from Lord to servant, and just as quickly back to Lord.
He was unafraid and unashamed to serve others…….unselfishly, unmotivated by riches, glory, or praise.
He is our example.
Be kind, and always serve others!