“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:13-17
As I mentioned yesterday, I returned home from Calvin’s Festival of Faith and Writing (Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI). I am nourished with streams of living water about to burst forth from my soul. Late yesterday afternoon, I arrived home to a feverish husband and an almost three year old sweetheart bent on going her own way (like we all are). Today, my husband was so unwell he had to cancel all of his classes. I took him to the doctor and we found that he had strep throat. My daughter, as I mentioned, is charmingly seeking to go her own way at every turn, even today. Me, I am tired though well fed while trying to look after my family and work.
What I am thinking about today is how wonderful of a time we can have on retreats or in solitude or with other believers. But when it comes down to it, when the rubber meets the road, what is important, what serves as a barometer for our spiritual health, is if and how we serve others. Do we serve saturated in bitterness and grudgingly? More times than not, I’d rather be served than serve — honestly. Or, I’d rather serve on my own time schedule, in my own way. That is to say, I’d rather call the shots about whom I’d serve, when I’d serve, and how I’d serve. But that’s not the Jesus way.
Coming down from my Mount of Transfiguration (The Festival of Faith and Writing) I’d better put all that I heard from God and others into practice. That means joyfully serving my family today (doing laundry, picking up, making food, comforting the sick) and completing job assignments. Of course, I cannot do it in my own strength. I need to do it in the power of the Spirit. Everyday life, the mundane, can often wear us down. And even as I write this, I realize there are billions in the world that would give anything to worn down the way I am. So, even my weariness is nothing compared to that of billions of people. What’s my problem? Still, the way I serve those closest to me is the best indication of my spiritual health and obedience (How can we say we love God and hate our brother?). Jesus says that I’ll be blessed if I lovingly serve.
I remember his words as I write and as my husband rests and as my daughter naps.
In the name of Jesus, blessings to all who stumble across these letters.