One of the many attributes of Jesus is that of Servant Leader.
The world needs more who consider it an honor to serve others. What better source could the world have than the church, those who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus? Those who have been bought with a price and joined to Jesus through the grace of God?
Serving others as Jesus did is costly. Being a servant will cost you time and resources that some, if not most would argue could be better spent. Being a servant will no doubt cause your plans and mine to be interrupted or even cancelled from time to time for the sake of others. Being a servant is often inconvenient yet seldom not worthwhile.
Being a servant means that you graciously assume the last seat or the worst seat so that another may have a better one. Being a servant requires bending lower than anyone else for the sake of lifting someone up. Being a servant means moving into action when no one seems willing to move anything more than their eyes in wonder of who will gladly kneel and step up to the task.
I was reminded this past week of what a servant leader does and does not do. It may be best seen in imagining those who gathered for what would be remembered as the last supper.
Jesus is there. So is Peter and James and John. They had been the inner circle of Jesus' counsel for the better part of 3 years. And as Jesus earthly ministry is fulfilled, there would be a test for all of them to see what they had learned from their Lord, if anything.
It was customary in the first century to wash the soiled feet when entering the house. It was often the first thing. Some hired servants to do this 'dirty' task. Most however, took the time through whatever means necessary to wash their own.
On this night, His last with His disciples before the crucifixion, the table had been prepared with food and wine. The basin was there as was the water and a towel. One by one the 12 gathered for supper with Jesus. Some mingle, while others maneuver their way to get the preferred seat, the one closest to the hors d'oeuvers.
Try to listen in on the conversation as they interact with one another, One said, 'you know I was the first one He chose.' While another responded, 'I have spent more time with Him than anyone else in this room. Then another spoke up and said, 'I was the one responsible for contacting everyone to come to this meeting.' And all the while the basin remains empty and the towel unused.
Then Jesus stands up, picks up the basin and then one by one kneels to wash their feet. Washing their feet wasn't new. However, Jesus washing their feet was.
As author Max Lucado observes--"as they bicker with one another, Jesus doesn't speak. He removes His robe and takes the servant's wrap off the wall. He takes the pitcher of water and pours it into the basin. He kneels before each of them with the basin and the sponge and begins to wash the filth from their feet. He then takes the towel and dries them. The hands that will be pierced in the morning are scrubbing grime this evening. And the disciples, all of them, do not deserve it...Some will make promises tonight and they'll make tracks tomorrow. No one of them will be by His side to carry the cross so a stranger will be commanded to." Max Lucado -- 'Jesus'
When Jesus comes to Peter, Peter strongly resists Jesus' action.
Peter's response causes one to wonder--
'Was it because he didn't want to see God washing his feet?
Was it because he didn't want to do the same?'
Those are questions that still require a personal response.
You and I must first be willing to place our feet in the basin of Jesus and that means placing our filth in His hands. The good news is that He cleanses more than our feet as a Servant Leader.