September 18, 2016
Have you ever had that uncomfortable moment when someone asks you to help them? You really don’t want to help, but you’re stuck – – you’re not sure what to say to get out of helping. Maybe they are moving, and you know they won’t be ready. It’ll be throwing things in garbage bags at the last second. Or they need a ride or they need something fixed. You know what it’s like. Well, there’s great news! There’s a new app you can use to get you out of helping.
Watch this video!! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQHKIYWPBZk)
WOW! Isn’t that cool?! You can have ready made excuses not to help one another. Excuses when we ask, “Hey, who can help serve?” You can go to this app, and tell me you have a ‘class on how to rid the world of fruit flies.’
Yet, as Christ followers . . . is this how we are to live our lives?
Are we to say yes to Christ, but no to the rest of the world?
Are we to say yes to heaven, but no to our brothers/sisters when they have a need?
I believe we’ve all had moments when we think to ourselves, “I’m not doing that.” Help me out with that. Will you tap the person next to you and say, I’m not doing that.
Just do that, will you? A lot of you, you’re going, “I’m not doing that.” Forget about touching my neighbor, I’m not doing that. Right? You see? Either way, I got you.
In our short series, we’re looking at the love of Jesus, that He continually sought to perform irrational acts of love. Last week, we saw Jesus forgive sinners and I heard from a lot of people how you thought someone called me and told me to preach that for you. Honestly, that was really encouraging.
Next week we’re going to look at Jesus breaking bread – – showing the power of community, as we love one another.
Today, I want to look at the image of Jesus washing feet, the picture of Him serving those around Him. We’re going to look in John’s gospel, John 13. We’ll start in verse 1, and let this set the context for the image of loving like Jesus. How do we do it? One of the ways is, we wash feet.
John 13:1 says this, 1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
This is the day before His crucifixion and you can imagine the emotion He’s feeling. Yet, I love what John tells us – – – Jesus loved the disciples to the end.
Jesus knew the disciples still didn’t get who He was. They argued about who was the greatest, how many times I need to forgive, at times they seemed faithless and mostly clueless. So, Jesus looked around the room at His closest friends and what does He see. He sees proud hearts – – – and dirty feet. Watch what Jesus does.
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going back to God,
4 rose from supper. He laid aside His outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His waist.
5 Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.
We’re not going to look at the reaction of the disciples who were shocked that their teacher, the Messiah would stoop down and wash their feet.
Foot washing was a common courtesy when someone came to your home. For example, if you came to my home I may take your jacket, then ask if I could get you something to drink? It’s common courtesy. If you came to a home in the 1st century, the first thing they would do is greet you with a kiss on the cheek. Then they would ask, “Would you like your feet washed?”
It’s important to understand the host would NEVER wash the feet of the guest, that would have been too humiliating. There would always be a servant who would come and wash the feet, the host wouldn’t do it, because, let’s be honest. Feet are kind of disgusting.”
Imagine if I came to your house. “Hey, Pastor Michael. We’re glad you’re here. Could I get you a drink? Here take your shoes off, I’ll give you a foot massage!”
I might take you up on that! But, you’d never say that. You’re not going to touch my feet. This was a job reserved for the servant or the slave.
So, Jesus is at the final meal. The night before He’s going to die an excruciating death. He looks around the room and He sees proud hearts – – – and dirty feet. What does he do? He gets up and puts on a slave’s apron. He fills a bucket with water and while everybody’s gasping and shocked – – They’re like, “No, no way!” Picture the president or the presidential candidates coming to your home and asking, not for your vote, but “May I wash your toilets?” It’s lower than that.
You need to understand who this is. We’re talking about Jesus, the Son of God, the lamb of God, the Prince of peace, the living water, the bread of life. He’s our Redeemer. Our Righteousness. He IS the light of the world. He IS the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, the king of kings, and the Lord of lords. He stoops down and does something that’s reserved for the lowest of the low in the society. Dirty Feet . . . I’ll serve!!
Dirty feet! Jesus loved the disciples to the end by doing something everyone thought was too low to be done. In Matthew 23:11, Jesus said the remarkable ~
The greatest among you shall be your servant.
I’m not doing that. Where’s that app, so I can say I’ve get an event to go to. That’s beneath me. I’m too busy! Jesus, the son of God knelt down and washed feet.
Can we look at these as opportunities to serve God? Can we ask ourselves, “God, is this an assignment you have for me?” Try that with your everyday situations. Wake up and say, “God, give me eyes and ears and a heart to see, love and care!
God, if there’s a need I can meet, cause me to stop and say, “Is that an assignment from you?” Is your pride getting in the way? A busy schedule? Laziness?
They need help in the nursery. And you’re thinking, “NEVER!” Then it hits you – – – “You know what? I love babies, I know how to wipe a bottom. I can do that. This one’s mine. Someone needs their yard mowed. Today I am a yard mower. Someone is moving. Are you a mover? Today I am. Are you a garbage person? You know what? Today I am. I do everything for the glory of the Lord.
As Jesus finished washing feet – – – He gave this lesson to the disciples ~
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
It’s a call to serve! Simple as that. Difficult as that!
Can you do that? I can do that. This one’s mine. I’ve got eyes to see because the greatest is the one who serves. Whenever you go and wash feet – – You don’t need somebody to get the Instagram shot of you serving. Just serve with no strings attached.
When you’re serving with the right heart, it’s not about you.
When you’re serving with the right heart, it’s not about your gift.
When you’re serving with the right heart, it’s not about your recognition, it’s about serving God for His glory.
I can do that. This one’s mine. I can do that. It’s not just about actions, it’s about the attitude. We were created and gifted by God. I get to show the love of Jesus today. When you have the right attitude, the right actions start to follow, even if you don’t initially feel it.
It’s not just actions, it’s attitude. It’s an attitude. Serving is not what I do. Serving is who I am. Don’t miss that. I am a servant. It’s who I am.
It has to be modeled / lived. It’s not religious. It’s We because want to. We get to. We’re privileged to serve . . . and we’re passionate about serving. It becomes a way of living. When people see you serving outside of yourself, people are struck by that. People want authenticity. They want to see who you are, not just on a Sunday, but Monday and Tuesday, as well as Friday and Saturday. When we get plugged in and serve, and use our gifts, we become the church.
So, if you’re only going to church, but not serving in the church, then there’s something God wants to be done that is not being done. Something’s missing, something’s lacking. When you serve others, God changes lives and the first life which is changed is yours!
Let me say it again. When you serve others, God changes lives and the first life He changes is yours. What do you get? You get the thrill of being used by God. It could come in a hundred of different ways. You could be a prayer warrior, and really pray for people. You could be volunteering in the church or in some other organization, serving people. I know someone who makes pies every Tuesday . . . . and we have received some great pies! That’s a servant. We know people who will cut grass or rake leaves or clean up for someone, that’s a servant. There are people who love baking and cooking for others . . . that’s a servant. There are people who give away more money . . . that’s a servant. There are people who send cards, visit, make phone calls. They are encouragers . . . they are a servant.
I could go on and on – – – there are so many different ways to serve.
Serving becomes a way of life. It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. I have the thrill of being used by God. When you go to bed at the end of the day and you look back and say, “You know what? God used me today.” That was a good day.
When you spend everyday on yourself, you will be empty for the rest of your life. You invest your life in others and you will be filled, the greatest is the one who is a servant. If you are not using your gifts, you are robbing yourself of the blessing of making a difference in somebody else’s life and being used by God.
I’m telling you what. I don’t use this as a plea, like “Hey, come and help.” I’m saying, “You do this and it will change your life.”
It will change you and it will change those around you. You want to change your marriage, serve your spouse. You want to change your friendships? Serve your friends. You want to change your community? Serve your community. You want to change your relationship with God? Serve people in the church and be the church. You want to see your life change? Serve other people because when you serve others, God changes lives, starting with you.
Cheryl A. Bachelder, is the CEO of Popeyes. She helped turn the company around with a focus on serving. She’s a committed Christian and said this about serving –
“The Bible verse that’s on my calendar every day is Philippians 2:3. Because I haven’t found one that’s more paramount to how I want to lead in my family and in my work.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. — Philippians 2:3
She added, “I believe we’re all born with an inner 2-year-old. And we’d still like to be laying on the floor, kicking and screaming because we didn’t get the candy bar we wanted. It’s pretty hardwired that we’re self-absorbed little people. And we learn to fake it well, but we’re still pretty much that 2-year-old on the inside.
I find that biblical perspective really challenging in every aspect of my day — how I’m spending my time, the decisions that I make. To put them through a filter of whether I’m thinking about myself or whether I’m thinking about others. Am I doing this because I’ll get a bigger bonus check? Or am I really thinking about the long-term interest of this company? Am I doing this truly for my franchise owners, or am I getting some personal benefit that I haven’t been willing to acknowledge?” Those kinds of provocative self-mirror questions hold you to a higher standard. I always say servant leadership is an aspiration, because you can really never claim you’ve arrived. Because as soon as you do, someone will find you – and in a trap of self-interest. It’s something you’re always working toward.”
That’s a great insight.
You want to see your children be passionate about Jesus? You be passionate about Jesus. Serve God outside of yourself and get them engaged using their gifts, so they’re not consumers. They’ll be servants for Christ, they’ll own it and have an incredibly passionate faith because Jesus did not come to be served. He came to serve. He was and is the King of Kings, He could have had everybody serve Him.
He said, “I came to be your servant.” Who’s the greatest? The greatest is your servant. Jesus looked around the room, He saw proud hearts and dirty feet.
This one’s mine.
When you have eyes to see, spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to care, you will see needs and you will never be the same. You know what? I can do that. This one’s mine. You see a need and you meet it, because that’s what servants do. That is another way that we can love like Jesus.