Serving Over Circumstances

There’s something about the stillness of the night & the warm glow of the fire that just makes me feel so at peace. On a girl’s trip last weekend, we gathered around the fire, with flannels and blankets abound. Conversation quickly turned to boy talk, as it usually goes with young women gathered around a fire! While we were chatting, I started to share how instead of doing a garter toss at Ed & I’s wedding, I was trying to think of alternate ideas. One of the ideas I had read about online was having the groom wash the bride’s feet as a sign of service. I thought that would be unique, but maybe a bit forced if I asked Ed to wash my feet and had people watch…plus, I’m not a feet fan, so I wouldn’t want to make Ed wash my feet!!! Lol.

Then, the same night we got back from out trip, I just so happened to read about Jesus washing his disciple’s feet. Coincidence?? I think not!

To give some context as to what makes this story all the more powerful, this is the portion of the Gospel in which Jesus is about to be crucified on the cross. At the time, He was very aware of what was about to happen to Him and His response was to go and pray. This passage in Luke 22 turns into a vulnerable moment, in which Jesus asks God if he would “Take this cup from [Him]; yet not [His] will, but [God’s].” In a moment of complete honesty with God, He asks Him if there’s another way. If there’s a way that would be less painful. He knew the intense suffering He was about to face, and so He turned to His father to ask for help. In that moment, it says “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

Clearly this was not a simple task, and Jesus DID feel pain and sorrow. He knew what He was doing, and He knew that it had to be done, no matter how painful it would be. That was His mission and purpose for coming to Earth, to be the sacrifice for our sins so that we could CHOOSE to have a relationship with God.

In His humanness though, Jesus was struggling. Isn’t that crazy to think? Jesus struggled too. I hope that’s comforting to you today, because I know it was to me. But I love His response to His struggle. He prays and prays and prays. He is so honest with God, literally asking Him if there’s a less painful way for this to happen. He accepts God’s will, no matter if it aligns to what He wants. And it’s in that moment, that an angel appears and strengthens Him. But guess what…that doesn’t fix all of His problems or change what is about to happen. It says Jesus was in ANGUISH. Torment. Suffering. Pain. And what did he do? He prayed again, earnestly. His praying did not change the events that were to happen, and Jesus knew in detail everything that would happen to Him. He knew of the betrayal, the false accusations, the rejection, the physical pain, all of it, but still He continued to pray, despite the answer He received.

And that is why I’m in awe of this story of the washing of the disciples feet. Jesus, as we just saw, is in anguish and overwhelmed with sorrow at the events about to occur. He is praying, asking God to change the pain He is about to have to feel. He gets an answer…not the one He wanted…but He continues to pray. And while He has all of this going on, He is still a servant and concerned more about others than about Himself and His own situation.

In John 13, it says “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” At this time, Jesus is having what would be His last meal with the disciples. Let’s remember again that He knew EVERYTHING that was about to take place, including the fact that one of His own disciples (Judas) whom He loved would betray Him over to the very people who would crucify Him. So while everyone is eating, Jesus gets up, pours water into a basin, and begins to wash His disciples’ feet. All of them. Even Judas, the one who would betray Him. That’s right…He used His last moments on Earth to humble himself and wash the feet of His disciples, when He could have so easily sat in self-pity over how much pain and suffering He was about to go through.

Can you imagine washing the feet of someone you knew would betray you? Can you imagine taking the time to wash people’s feet when you were about to be hung on a cross? Can you imagine putting aside all of your needs and worries just to wash some people’s feet??? I can’t. But that’s the amazing thing about Jesus. He’s not like us. He didn’t just serve those who loved Him back, He served and loved everyone, including the one who betrayed Him, because He knew what His ultimate purpose was, and He wanted to use every last minute He had on Earth to serve others, despite what was happening to Him.

I feel led to heed that same call today. Set aside your circumstances, and serve. Let Jesus be your inspiration today and serve others not because you think they deserve to be served, but because you know that it is your mission to serve others. And when you are struggling today, let prayer be your first, second, third, and forever response, just like Jesus!

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