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For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:27

When natural disasters strike we are drawn to the people who give of themselves to help the victims. Movie stars, athletes and other celebrities are held in high esteem for the sacrificial work they have done to help humanity. Those who don’t have much money, but have a passion for a particular cause will join together for marches and walks and vigils to bring attention to the victims of disease or some other calamity in hopes that their cause will be noticed by those who can help in even the smallest way.

I’m in no way minimizing the efforts of these people. They are to be applauded for their work. Some have given their own lives so that others can live and that is a noble gesture indeed. However, the one factor in all these efforts that has to happen for them to be effective is that success comes from gaining public awareness. As good of intentions as these heroes of society have, their work would not be as effective if no one notices. In fact, celebrities are sought out to sponsor a cause for that very reason.

That’s what makes Jesus’ teaching even more astounding. In the hot, dusty streets and paths of Israel, no one was less recognized than the servant who washed people’s feet. It was the dirtiest and lowest job anyone could have. The servant delegated to foot-washing was noticed more if he/she wasn’t there than for the job they did. Never a thank-you. No tips. No appreciation or recognition of any kind. If you were a foot-washer it was unlikely that anyone at Wal-Mart would stop you in the aisle and say, “Remember me? You washed my feet last week. Thank you so much!” That wasn’t going to happen. Ever. Period.

Jesus used the example of washing feet for basic reasons. First of all, he did that to show me how important I am to him. That person with the towel around his waist, kneeling before me on a hot, dusty day, to wash my smelly, calloused, crusty feet was the creator of the universe! He was the one that hung the stars in place. He was the one that created the wonder we call conception and birth. He was the one who formed the massive mountains and the fruitful plain and filled the massive ocean. Then he turned around and place hundreds of thousands of life forms in them. Yet there he was washing my feet. To the King of Kings and Lord of Lords I am held in higher esteem than he holds himself.

A second reason Jesus kneels before me is to show me how to treat others. True heroes do the little things that make others, who deserve it the least, feel like kings! As you go through the journey of life, you may come in contact with hundreds of people who largely go unnoticed for the things they do. The clerk at the gas station. The barista at Starbucks. The greeter at Wal-Mart. The list goes on and on.

So ask yourself this question. At the end of the day, have the people you come in contact with left your presence feeling like a king or a servant?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. The visual of you kneeling before me to wash my feet is humbling. The fact that you would think so much of me that you lowered yourself to that leaves me without words. I ask that you would empower me with your Holy Spirit to see the unnoticed in my daily walk. Help me leave them feeling like kings, just as you see me. In your name I pray, Amen.

 


Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

A friend of mine I’ll call John tells the story of how he had befriended a person who was really struggling with life. John spent hours listening to his new friend tell of her pain, encouraged her when she was feeling down, called her when she was sick and rejoiced with her when things were going well. In the process of building this friendship John told her of the weaknesses he had in order to help her see that she wasn’t the only one that struggled.

One day John found out that the young lady he was helping was telling everyone she knew about his ‘weaknesses’. John was hurt, embarrassed and frustrated by the betrayal and told me he was ‘done helping people.’

As John was sharing his hurt with me I thought of the verse in Galatians where Paul tells us to ‘never grow weary in doing good.’ Each of us takes a risk when we reach out to those around us who are in need. We put ourselves in risk of being hurt ourselves. We put ourselves in danger of falling into sin.

Another risk we take in reaching out to other people is that our motives can be misunderstood. Try as we might to be honest and reach out to others, they may reject our attempts to help or even accuse us of meddling. It seems that those of us in ministry (not JUST pastors) are the most vulnerable to growing weary from helping others.

There always seems to be opposition to the best plans for helping others. It takes time away from our own lives, people are often ungrateful or demanding, some just want to take advantage of our generosity for their own selfish means. It’s no wonder we become disheartened. But Paul exhorts us not to give up doing good but to persevere in spite of how we are treated.

Sometimes there are people we come across who are never satisfied with what we do. We wear our hair wrong, wear the wrong clothes, go to the wrong church, like the wrong music…and the list goes on and on. There is much truth to the saying you can please some people some of the time but you can’t please all the people all the time. We can add to that the reality that there are some people we will never please ANY of the time.

The lesson we as Christ followers must realize is that our reward for doing good won’t necessarily come while we are on earth. It’s a hard lesson to learn but we may be totally unappreciated for what we do until we get to heaven. But don’t get tired. Don’t give up. God sees your efforts. He knows your heart. Even if people don’t understand, your Heavenly Father does understand.

When you feel unappreciated or taken advantage of, or when you can’t seem to please some people, do your deeds as though you were doing them for Jesus. He not only will appreciate you, He and the angels applaud your efforts!

PRAYER: Father, I’m tired of the people around me who never seem satisfied with my efforts. I’m tired of being taken advantage of and betrayed by those who say they are my friends. I’m appalled at the fact that many of the people who have hurt me the worst claim to be followers of you. I ask that you would heal me of the wounds others have placed on me when I’ve only tried to help them. Empower me to continue to work for the good of those around me for Your sake. I ask this in your Holy name, Amen.

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