Last week I posted about pride, this week let’s take a look at the other side…humility.
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way…real humility is hard. To completely set ourselves aside for the sake of others doesn’t come naturally to any of us. We may act humble…we may be trying to be humble…but that “me first” attitude creeps in around the edges as we bask in our humbleness.
Nope, as stated above – it doesn’t come naturally. Which would seem to point to a need for a supernatural source…a supernatural example. Fortunately for us…
For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you
(John 13:15 ESV)
John 13:1-20…Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. I’d venture a guess that most, if not all, of you, have read the passage – or at least heard about the event. I’d go a little farther and add to that guess…you’ve probably heard about it in the context of humility. Jesus bending down and doing what a servant should’ve done. Putting others first…which is the foundation of humility. However, familiarity often breeds – not contempt in this case – but indifference. We have this example, but we haven’t internalized the lesson.
Some things to think about…some of these will be reminders (perhaps all of them will be):
These guys walked on dusty dirt roads. Their sandals covered very little of a person’s foot. Not only was there dirt and mud…but don’t forget about the livestock that would have walked those paths. Donkeys at the very least, but more than likely…oxen, sheep, and goats…maybe others as well. Those sandals wouldn’t provide much cover in the case of a misstep. In other words, feet were dirty in those days.
The job of washing feet before a meal was necessary. The tables they used at that time period were not too far off the ground, a person’s feet were “right there.”
The task fell to servants…in fact, Jewish servants were considered “above” the job if there were any Gentile servants around.
Brings up some questions –
Do we look at things as beneath us?
Do we look to make sure people are noticing us doing the “dirty work”?
Can we serve others, no matter what, without hesitation…without expectations?
The disciples seem to answer the questions with, “not me.” Imagine their surprise when Jesus prepared Himself to take on the lowly task.
Not only did He take on the task…He washed the feet of His betrayer, the one who would deny Him three times, and the rest of the disciples – all of which would abandon Him.
Do we hold back our service based on the worth of the other person?
Do we serve others with expectations of what they can do for us?
You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. (John 13:13 ESV)
Teacher…someone we learn from.
Lord or Master…someone we are to obey.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. (John 13:14 ESV)
It isn’t just the disciples being spoken to here. Are we following Him in His call to selflessly server others?
Do we really practice humility? Do we do the lowly things? Are we abandoning self to see others as more important than ourselves?
Are we following the example of Jesus?
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:12–17)