I am grieving about it.
There He stands, my precious Lord, asking so little of me. "Wash their feet, Laura," He says, as He sends people to me to shelter or feed. Always it is my own family. Sometimes it is other people's children. Sometimes it has been a widow, or a foreigner, or another missionary. Sometimes it is a whole family, or a whole mission team.
Sometimes He sends large groups of people and, although I fall into bed exhausted every night and wake up again still tired, the fellowship with other believers is so stunning in all its manifold blessings that I frankly don't care.
Recently He sent me some guests and half of our household was sick with a stomach virus. I was busy emptying my children's basins all night long. I was tired. I was rather sick myself. Yet there is no excuse for my selfishness in refusing to help one of my guests.
When I saw his basin needed to be cleaned, I left it for him to empty. When I saw his laundry piled high, I left it for him to do.
After all, I'm a busy mom. I have my own children to care for.
So I neglected one of HIS children in their time of greatest need.
"Feed my sheep," my Lord reminds me. And, "You ought to wash one another's feet."
I don't think His command to wash other people's feet is really understood today. A few people today practice foot washing, but usually it is a token ceremony done in a pristine church building. We have clean roads and clean parking lots and socks and shoes in which to walk to those pristine buildings. Jesus and his disciples walked through muck. . .in sandals.
After one such journey the Lord Of All The Earth wrapped a towel around himself, filled a basin and knelt to wash twelve pairs of filthy feet. And when He came to the Betrayer, whose greed was in fact idolatry, Christ did not hesitate. He lovingly took those feet also and washed them. Surely He grieved as He watched the filth come off the soles of that man but remain in his soul.
Find those who need it most and wash their feet.
We love to serve others in fun ways. "You need someone to take the guest speaker out for ice cream after church, Pastor? Sure, we'll do it!"
But. . .
"House a family with four kids for a week? Er, sorry, we just aren't set up for that."
People have washed our feet in so many ways:
- The dear lady in the Chicago area with health difficulties who has housed us on several occasions. I'm pretty sure she fought her way through a fog of pain to prepare our beds for us.
- The single lady on a shoestring budget in Milwaukee who bought a house for the purpose of housing missionaries.
- The sweet older couple in Tennessee who bravely took our whole family into their tiny trailer for a weekend. They slept on a couch in the postage stamp-sized living room and gave us their bedroom. They were the Green family and they had a brown dog named Blue.
- The Christian brother in Singapore who housed us and fed us exotic foods like century eggs and spicy stingray and spent hours shuttling us back and forth to the church and took us to places we could never have afforded to go and even bought diapers for my babies.
We will never forget these people. They are fulfilling Christ's command in a marvelous, self-sacrificing way. They are modeling Christ for the world.
"You ought to wash one another's feet."
I wish I could turn the clock back. I want another chance to model Christ in a difficult way. Maybe He will give me that chance.
But in the meantime, if you will excuse me, I have some laundry to do for our guests.