One of the worst things I’ve ever heard in my ministry (it’s not a career) is: “Isn’t that what we pay you for?” As a minister in Christ, I’m one of the lucky ones who gets a living wage to do the ministry of the church full time. Very few make it by selling books, or become mega-church preachers, and most (in spite of the “tax the church” crowd’s assertions) are bi-vocational (meaning they have one or more jobs to support their ministries), and usually do the ministry more on a voluntary basis than anything. Even in my own ministry, I would say 60-80 percent of what I do is “off the books” or voluntary. Phone calls in the middle of the night, visits, trips to other cities (and sometimes states), days, if not weeks away from my family: this is what I experience year to year in ministry, and much of it, I gladly volunteer.
I’m not saying any of this to garner sympathy, or to hear “Great job, kiddo!” I say this because my master washed feet. Think about that. The Lord and Creator of the Universe, who Spoke and it all came in to being, washed feet before He was executed for my sake. All too often, I hear Christians say things like “I work all week, I come to church to be fed,” or “that’s not my job” or “someone else will do it, you don’t need me.” And all too often, 5-20 percent of the church does 100 percent of the labor. A follower of Christ should never say “That’s not my job.” Jesus says that if anyone is to be great in His Kingdom, they should be the slave of everyone. And He lived exactly as He preached. We only reflect God’s image as we love and serve God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and as we love and serve our neighbors as ourselves. Let us serve and love without complaint. Let us seek to outdo one another in showing honor. Let us reflect the image of Christ as we serve and love God and each other.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
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. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”