Who Will Take Up the Towel?
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
My fellow photo club friend recently shared on Facebook that he was asked if he had a personal relationship with Jesus. He answered, “Why, yes I do. I know him well. We see each other regularly. He cuts my grass.” A rather snarky answer to the woman who was most likely sincere – if not a bit out of context. We cannot challenge someone beyond the relationship level we have with them. But I digress.
What if we who identify so closely with Jesus were known for our heart of service? What if she had noticed some way in which she could have served my friend? Might that be part of the story of God’s impact in his life? I wonder if he was already having a difficult day, and a touch of God’s kindness through the hands of a Jesus follower would have brought some of the balm of Gilead to his bruised heart?
We’ll never know. But we do know that as followers of Jesus we are called to be servants. Paying attention to widows and orphans, caring for needy and sick people, going the extra mile with someone who really needs a second-mile friend: this is our calling.
You may know the story of Jesus in the Upper Room with his disciples on the night he was betrayed. Not the story of the Last Supper, and Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper. The story of Jesus getting up from the table, wrapping his cloak around his waist, taking a bowl of water and a towel, and washing his disciples’ feet. You can find that account in John 13:1-20.
Jesus served his disciples in a very menial way. Washing the feet of a guest was servant’s work. And Jesus was a true servant of God and man. He showed it in that act of humble service. I just now looked at the thesaurus for synonyms for service, but none filled the bill for me. Aid, help, helping hand, ministrations: none of them serve us as well as the word service. For service reminds us of servant. Jesus was a servant.
We are called to be little Christs. That’s what the word Christian means. Little Christ. For most people that’s not what they think of when they hear the term Christian. But maybe, just maybe, we could move the needle just a bit in that direction if we were to dedicate ourselves to serving others.
Zach Zehnder says in his book, The Red Letter Challenge, “While serving others won’t save you, it may help save someone else.” I’ve got to cogitate on that a bit…You?