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Thoughts for the Week -- May 3-9, 1999

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  • Mark Roth
    ... Jesus Loves and Serves (John 13:1-17) I saw him. He walked about the school yard after the annual picnic, not visiting with friends, not organizing another
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 1999
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      Jesus Loves and Serves
      (John 13:1-17)

      I saw him. He walked about the school yard after the annual picnic, not
      visiting with friends, not organizing another volleyball game, not munching
      down his fourth piece of pie. No, he had a trash can in one hand while with
      the other he picked up discarded cups, plates and plastic ware.

      I saw him again. The wedding ceremony had run its course, and people worked
      through their courses at the reception. Having eaten and done a bit of
      visiting already, I was busy looking for someone else to yak with. He was
      in the kitchen, not by the juice vats or the snack trays. He stood at a
      sink with a spray nozzle in one hand while with the other he picked up
      well-used plates and such-like.

      I have long admired Steve's readiness to do the "small" things that I do
      not seem to think of doing. Though seemingly small, these tasks must be
      done and done dependably. But because of their apparent smallness, they
      easily get overlooked. Just as the feet washing was overlooked by everyone.
      Except Jesus. Or perhaps no one else overlooked it either; but they just
      couldn't do *that*, especially for *him*.

      So Steve's service reminds me of the Master's service in washing His
      disciples' feet.

      What about me reminds others of this ordinance? What about you does that
      for others? We practice the ordinance itself, and that is commendable. But
      would we do it if those feet really *did* need to be washed? The real
      answer lies not in our heads but in the daily proof of our current lives of
      "menial" service to others.

      Let's go back to that big picnic. Did anyone help those parents who just
      did not come equipped with enough hands to hold all those plates at the
      potluck tables? Who made sure the drip from that juice jug had a rag to
      soak it up? Did anyone push swings and twirl merry-go-rounds while the
      parents got to play ball or just socialize? And who played ball with the
      younger ones after the older ones wandered off the playing field? Makes me
      want to sigh, because my answer to each one is, "Not I." But somehow I
      think I would wash your feet if you had walked barefoot through two miles'
      worth of dust. I wonder what makes me think so!

      Another challenge to be faced here is that of finding the spiritual
      applications to this kind of service. People's lives and hearts get smudged
      in the course of living. How can I work with God to wash my brother's
      spiritual feet...without judging or condemning him for getting them dirty
      in the first place? Think about *that*.

      Oh, I left unsaid a vital piece of information about Steve. As I write
      this, he is not a Christian, though his wife and children follow the
      Master. So along with admiration for Steve, what other kinds of sentiments
      do you think fill my heart...about me and my service?


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      Mark Roth
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