Why do I hesitate? I see someone in need and the first thought in my head is all too often, “Oh man, what’s the Lord going to ask me to do?” There’s a tinge of fear, a hesitancy – a surge of my will trying to find an alternate route away from the situation. It’s in those moments when I see just how rebellious and selfish my own will is. It’s sick!
I’m here to love others. That’s what we’re here on this earth to do. I don’t have to conjure up the love that He wants me to give… God gives me His. I don’t have to really even go searching for the opportunities… He provides those too. And His Spirit lives in me so that it’s really Him touching others and not me at all. So why is it so hard? Why is my first instinct, “Yikes!”
I got an answer to this question when I read the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in John 13:1-17. It was verses 3 and 4 that especially got my attention. “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.” It was that one little word in verse 4 that caught my eye… “so.”
Some could argue that if Jesus knew that the God of the universe had put all things under his power and that not only was he from God but he was about to die and return to God that he should NOT be spending his last night on earth washing the disciples feet, for heaven’s sake! Jesus could have stood up in the middle of that room and said, “Yo! Duh-ciples! Don’t you know who I am?! I am the Son of God! I am about to suffer a horrible death, for crying out loud!! Do you think it would be too much trouble for one of you to at least provide some water and a towel so I can clean all the dust and crud off my feet before we eat!” But that’s not what He said or did.
John is very deliberate in tying together the fact that Jesus knew who he was and the fate he was about to suffer with this act of service. Even the original Greek text, while it doesn’t include the word “so” still correlates the knowledge with the action. The two cannot be separated. Jesus knew who he was and he quietly left the table and went to each disciple (even the one he knew was going to betray him) and washed a day’s worth of dust, dirt and muck from 12 pairs of feet.
What I took from this amazing example of humility and servanthood is that Jesus had the security of knowing who he was. Out of that security, out of that unity he had with his Father, he served. It wasn’t about Him. In fact, nothing in Jesus’ life was about him! It was about others… about us… and about bringing glory to his Father in heaven. On a night when Jesus deserved to be the center of attention he didn’t demand it. Instead he used that opportunity to serve his disciples and teach them that they too had the security to serve like he did.
We are not perfect like Jesus was when he walked this earth. But if we are true followers of his, he is alive in us. His prayer for us was that we would be united with him just as he and his Father were united. When we know and have the security of who we are in Christ, we, like him realize that it is not about US! When I feel fear or hesitancy at reaching out of my comfort zone it is because I have temporarily forgotten who I am. I momentarily lack that security of realizing my identity is with the God of the universe… Whom then shall I fear???
Remind yourself everyday of who you are in Him! Be secure in that knowledge so that it’s no longer about you, but about loving others and bringing glory to our Father in heaven!