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
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?