If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet. John 13:14
Isn’t it interesting that yesterday, as I was trying to prepare my thoughts for our upcoming mission presentation, that this topic of what leadership looks like to You, came up? So here I am looking at Your idea of leadership for a second time. And that’s only right because in John 13:15 You tell me, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
“If I then, your Authority and Instructor, have ceremonially cleansed your feet; you owe it to also ceremonially cleanse one another’s feet. ” It wasn’t normal for an authority and instructor to wash the feet of their students. This was usually a menial task done by a lowly servant. After all, it was a dirty job. I mean, we’re talking about dirty feet here.
And Peter realizes that and out of respect for You he says, “You shall never wash my feet.” To which You responded, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.” But I love Peter’s change of reply. “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” It’s much better to throw formality away than to lose out on You, Jesus.
Sometimes it’s hard for some of us to accept or receive from leadership. We expect and have been taught that we are to meet their needs. But Your idea of leadership is different than the world’s. Your kind of leader, the one molded after Your example, is always looking to the good of those he leads. You are sensitive to the needs of those under You. You are personal, intimate. You draw Your underlings close and teach them to lead like You.
As a Leader and a Shepherd, You called us to You. You are building us up into a strong house of God. You put those things in our lives and instruct us to strengthen us. You wash our feet and put us into tough situations where we can see Your glory and power. You percieve when we are tired from hard toil. You lead by providing for others. You protect, manage, and provide care for those who are under You. But You come alongside them to do so. “Like a shepherd He takes care of His flock. He gathers the lambs in His arms. He carries them in His arms. He gently helps the sheep and their lambs.” Isaiah 40:11
This is the kind of Leader You are. This is the kind of leadership You call me to. You are the only one who can cleanse me and make me whole. It took more than washing my feet. But I had to answer just like Paul and say, “Lord, wash all of me!” I needed to realize that I needed Your sacrifice on the cross. I still need it. I needed Your resurrection life. I still need it. And I have to let You ceremonially clean me because I can’t clean myself, only You as the Ultimate High Priest can, because only You are without sin.
But now that I’m clean, now that You have made me like You, I can follow in Your example. Your spirit lives inside of me and You make me able to follow You. I love how Paul put it in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-13, “For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”
We are called to draw near to these brothers and sisters, like the Holy Spirit draws near to us. Like You draw near to Your disciples. We are called to mutually build one another up, to strengthen and shore each other up. We are to continue in this walk together. We are to make ourselves familiar enough with one another that we can perceive our needs. And it’s not just about those who have authority over us, because a Godly authority is one who is busy giving aid, caring for, guarding and protecting others. This is true Christian authority. It’s not about ruling others but ruling one’s self. We are to support and draw alongside and build up those who are shepherding our Father’s sheep. This is how we nurture one another. This is how we build the kingdom. We are to remember and assist those who are laboring to the point of exhaustion and to watch and learn as their lives and words gently reprove us.
Lord, I am so thankful for the example that You gave. I am thankful that You are not like the leaders of the world, but that You chose to be a Servant Leader. And I don’t want to be a leader like the world, I want to be a servant leader after Your own heart. I want to allow others that same opportunity to not only bless but to be blessed. I thank You for the opportunity to lead by serving others. What a blessing to be a part of bringing Your cleansing into others lives and allowing them to bring that cleansing into mine. It’s not about me, Lord, it’s about You. And it’s about You mutually building us up together in You and us mutually building each other up in You. And it all started with some dirty feet.