Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Not Me!

A few years ago I participated in a wedding for one of my closest friends. As we sat "back stage" awaiting the time of the wedding, the groom's father (and best man) handed me an envelope with a check in it "for my time." I, of course, refused to accept the check, but he refused to take it back. The pastor who was officiating the wedding took me aside and taught me a valuable lesson that day. "Sometimes," he said, "People need to give more than we need to receive. Just say thank you, he wants to do this for you."

I think of that lesson often, and as I read the account of Jesus washing the disciples' feet, I am reminded of it. Peter was obstinate, but Jesus needed to wash Peter's feet so that Peter could understand. Peter, the tough guy, was embarrassed at the thought of being served. "I can do it myself," you can imagine him saying. Jesus, however, knew that Peter needed to learn a lesson. Jesus knew that Peter needed to understand first that service is a pre-requisite for strong leadership. Second, Jesus needed to wash Peter's feet to show Peter how to accept help, guidance, and gifts from the Lord.

Peter was going to need to rely on the Lord's help for the years to come as he built the church of the Lord. No doubt, this lesson from Jesus enabled Peter to rely more heavily on the Lord as he realized that he did not have to do everything himself...that even strong men need help. Peter learned to lean on the Lord and Jesus knew just how to teach that lesson. I wonder how many of us would sit idly by if the Lord were serving us, or "giving" to us? Americans are known for their individual spirit, we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, but I think that Christians need to remember that our Lord would stoop to remove those boots...would we let him?

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