Living to Serve Others

“Jesus . . . laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself . . . poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them . . .”—John 13:3–5 (NKJV)

We all have a story about “that job.” You know, that job that you look back on and can’t believe you survived. For me, it was taking inventory at an old-school hardware store. Every barrel filled with nails, nuts, bolts, screws, washers, etc. had to be meticulously sifted through and accounted for. If I happened to lose count on nail #347, I had to start all over and recount them from the beginning!  

You probably have a story just as bad—maybe even worse—about an assigned task or proverbial “dirty job.” In biblical times, there was a task like that; it was assigned to the lowest person on the pecking order. It was reserved for the lowest slave or the youngest child of the household. The dirty job was washing the feet of the other members of the household, as well as any guests. Allow me to paint a picture for you: sandals, no plumbing, sweat, dirt, garbage, animals, sewage. Washing feet wasn’t a job anyone willingly chose . . . except one.

John’s Gospel tells us that on the night before He was crucified, when everyone should have been serving Him, Jesus willingly and deliberately washed His disciples’ feet—all twenty-four of them—including the two attached to Judas!

This was totally unexpected, and that was precisely the point! Jesus knew He only had a few more hours to impact the disciples. So He did something they would never forget—something that the rest of their lives would be measured against, something that would remind them of their place in this world, something that would ground them when pride would come calling, something that would make them weep at the thought of the Creator bending down and doing the unthinkable for them.

Everything changed after this. It recalibrated their universe. From this point onward, nothing would be “beneath” them. The student is no greater than the master, and if the Master over all did this for them, it removed any rationale to the contrary. There would be no such thing as a job too dirty for them.

Jesus has washed our proverbial feet by suffering and dying for us on the cross.  He has cleansed us, not from the filth on our feet, but from the sin that saturated our souls. The Master has served us in a most unexpected way. Let’s follow His example by living to serve others.

DIG: Why did Jesus serve His disciples in such an unexpected way?

DISCOVER: How did this act of service change the disciples’ lives?

DISPLAY: How should the cross define you?

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.