Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Getting My Feet Washed... On My Roof

A couple weeks ago, we studied John 13. That's the story of when Jesus washes the disciple's feet. As you may remember - Jesus was about to die; He was in the "upper room" with His disciple's for the "last supper"; and in an act of profound servanthood, He washes the dirt (dust, donkey doo, and cow crap) off of their feet. The disciples were humiliated at being served by their Lord, but Jesus said "...unless I wash you, you have no part with me". Jesus ends the story by telling the disciples that they should do the same for each other.

Some churches have even initiated foot-washing services in an attempt to obey this command. However, as we looked at the story, we discovered that the message was really about serving each other, not about washing feet. We talked about several different ways we can serve each other.

We were challenged to consider a ministry of...
  • Presence - Just being there
  • Going to marginal places - Nursing homes, Homeless shelters, etc.
  • Availability - Willingness to be interrupted in our busy schedules
  • Surrender - Giving up rights, money, things
  • Anonymity - Doing, without expecting acknowledgement
  • Guarding - Protecting each other's reputations
  • Receiving - Yes, receiving help from others can be a form of service
Well, this past week, I got my feet washed up on my roof. A group of guys from my church knew that my roof was in disrepair. They also knew that I did not have the funds to pay for a new roof. So, a couple of them decided to get a crew together and take care of it. They took care of materials, labor, food for the crew, everything.

When I was first approached, I really struggled with it. It was humbling to be in a position to receive help from others. In fact I took a couple weeks to think about it before I said "okay". When I finally did respond, I said "my pride says 'no', but my theology says 'yes'". See, I was like Peter in the foot-washing story. Peter said to Jesus "No, Lord! You'll never wash my feet!" He was too proud. So was I.

But my pride nearly kept me from getting a huge blessing. Of course, the roof was a huge blessing. But even better than that, was the sense of community and camaraderie that we all got to experience. I got to hear guy's stories about how they came to faith in Jesus. I got to work along side some 13 year olds who did a man's share of work each day, and came back for more the next day. I got to "know" some guys that were just faces before. Now I have relationship with them. Huge.


There's a lot of talk these days about how a big church can't have community. I just want to say that's bunk. Maybe it takes more intentionality. Maybe it's harder to pull off. But Brad, Aser, Chris, Cyrus, Ross, Ross Jr., Scott, Bobby, Erik, Richard, Seth, JR, Bob, Buddy, Ted, Kelly, James, Wayne, Dave, David, Ken, Eric, Mike, Alex, Paul, Rob, Ron, Kimberly, Shirley, Chick, Cheryl, Sarah, Michelle, Emily, and Elyse all showed me that community does still exist. The old fashioned "barn-raising" is still possible.

At the very end of the story of the foot-washing is this statement "I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. You know these things—now do them! That is the path of blessing." If that statement is true (and I believe it is) then not only have I been blessed by this roof project, but all of you who served will be too. God's cool that way, huh?
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2 comments:

Kevin said...

Dean,
The way I read this it sounds as if you got a whole lot of lovin' thrown on you by a whack of friends. Wish I could've thrown some lovin' on you myself up there on the roof. I love that kind of thing. The best part to me is that I can so totally see you lovin' on others in exactly the same way.

Love you man,

Dallas Lange said...

Great example of community and service. I agree that size has nothing to do with community...people do. I hope Village continues to be marked by this kind of service.