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. John 13:14-15
On the night before he died, Jesus spent time with his friends sharing a meal, and at their protest, he washed their feet. I find the story of Jesus' foot-washing compelling on many levels. It gives insight into the intimacy of Jesus and his disciples. It helps me picture what it means to set ourselves aside. He offers us the ultimate examples of love in action. And it gives me pause to consider how I might emulate that moment.
One of the most meaningful opportunities I have had occurred with my father-in-law, Bobby. In the final days of his battle with stomach cancer, I had the privilege of sitting at Bobby’s feet and rubbing them, because the swelling was causing him so much pain. If you know me, you know I’m not much for touching feet, and I can’t stand to have mine touched. However, on this particular day, I remember sitting on the floor and not growing tired of rubbing his feet and ankles to relieve the pain. My sense of the presence of our Lord in this moment led me to do what, in my own sense of comfort, I might not do.
On April 14, 2005, the world lost an amazing man when Bobby died. At times, it seems like yesterday, and other times it seems like an eternity since I have heard his laughter. At this time of year, I often reflect on that day and think of how such a small act can be an offering. I also think of the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and how in that act, Jesus was teaching all of them (and us) about servant leadership. I am thankful for the Lord’s prompting to rub Bobby’s feet that day. I am forever grateful that, even though I did not think I had anything to offer, the Lord guided my actions. I miss Bobby...a lot. When I think of how much fun he must be having in the presence of Jesus - the One who came to teach us - I imagine he is happy right where he is. May we all seek to be in the presence of God and learn as much as we can, so that we can emulate servant leadership on earth as it is in heaven.