September 28, 2009

There Is NO Substitute!

There are some things in this world for which there is just no substitute. For instance, when I was growing up and my mom would try and buy the generic version of A1 Steak Sauce and put it in a real A1 bottle. The next time we had steak, she was caught red-handed! There are also many things which have no shortcut or "easier way". Flossing your teeth, for instance. And if you think you've come up with one, I don't want to hear about it.

As we approached yesterday's message, "Jesus Is a Servant", we racked our brains trying to figure out, "Is there something today, in our culture and times, that we could do to parallel this - something more relevant to our lives now than washing other people's feet. Anything?" We brainstormed. Prayed. Brainstormed even more. I was almost injured from thinking so hard! And still, nothing. The conclusion I reached was painful but simple: there is no act of humility or service in our culture or any other that compares to washing someone else's feet. Period.

You could see many different expressions on people's faces yesterday as they entered the worship center and noticed the basins of water and fresh white towels. There wasn't much wondering what they were there for. Still, I know many were probably thinking, "Surely they won't ask us to do THAT!" And as my friend shared with our Men's Group last night, "I was shocked!"

Yesterday morning in our 2 services we decided that we were going to take Jesus seriously - that when He said, "Since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet", He actually meant what He said. It was powerful and moving to see a husband wash the feet of his wife, a parent wash the feet of their child, a stranger to wash the feet of another, and friends getting on their hands and knees and humbly speaking words of encouragement to each other. This kind of radical obedience changes things. It changes people. It changes US!

There is no substitute for washing someone else's feet. There is no shortcut on this pathway of servanthood that Christ calls us to. And I know we search high and low for cheap replacements all the time - anything to avoid that kind of raw humility! But if we're going to call ourselves Christ-followers, why not simply follow Him? 

John 13:1-17
Want to hear the sermon? Check it out:


Linda Jones said...


I must admit that I was a bit leary of participating in the "foot washing" yesterday at church. However, as you began to preach, I decided that I didn't want to miss out on something special just because of my fear of possible embarrassment.

I am so glad that I made that decision. I can honestly say that I have rarely experienced something so powerful.

To have a relatively new friend come to me, ask to wash my feet and then share with me how much I meant to her and how I had helped her feel safe in our fellowship... only to be followed by your sweet wife who simply thanked me for loving her! (Like that is hard to do!)

Wow!!! What a powerful moment that will not be forgotten anytime soon. Thank you so much for stretching us out of our comfort zone so that we can truly see Jesus at work in our midst at The Brook.

Keith said...

Thanks for the great reminder, Brian. It's been quite a while since I lived out the humility to which Christ calls us.

Of course, now I'm going to be trying to come up with a modern parallel. If I come up with something, I will let you know...