Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.” – John 13:12-17 (The Message)
What does this say about Jesus? Have you washed anyone’s feet? What are other ways of serving others? Is Jesus concerned with the people around us? If so what does that say about how we are living?
I once heard a story about an astronomer who lived in an ancient time. He used to go out at night and observe the stars. One evening, as he wandered through the suburbs with his whole attention fixed on the sky, he accidently fell into a deep well. He whined and cried about his sores and bruises while yelling out for help. A neighbor ran to the well, and upon learning what had happened said, “Hey fellow, why in striving to pry into what is in heaven, do not you manage to see what is on earth?”
Jesus never lost sight of what was on earth! What a shame it is that we so often do. Often time it is good to remember the way Jesus lived. When he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life,” perhaps he didn’t mean it in a way we could stare into the heavens and wait for a life after death. Maybe he actually meant that the way he walked, the truth he spoke, and they life he lived were for us too, here on earth where our feet walk. “What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious.” “If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it – and live a blessed life.” A blessed life, that sounds good.
Builders or destroyers
What should be done then, my friends? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. – 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NRSV)
Paul is talking about worship here, but might he be talking about life too? What do you have to offer? How can you make a difference? Who has built you up? Who have you built up? What should be done then, my friends?
This was sent to me via e-mail:
I watched them tearing a building down, a gang of men in a busy town. With a ho-heave-ho and lusty yell, they swung a beam and a sidewall fell. I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled, as the men you’d hire if you had to build?” He gave me a laugh and said, “No indeed! Just common labor is all I need. I can easily wreck in a day or two what builders have taken a year to do.” And I thought to myself as I went my way, which of these two roles have I tried to play? Am I a builder who works with care, Measuring life by the rule and square? Am I shaping my deeds by a well-made plan, patiently doing the best I can? Or am I a wrecker who walks the town, Content with the labor of tearing down?
It is a question each one of us should ask; are we builders or destroyers? When we tear others down that is easy and quick. Recent studies say that children need to hear 10 positive things about themselves to combat the negative psychological effects of every one bad thing they hear. We know this is true. A compliment runs off our backs like water, and a hurtful remark will stick with us for a long time. Therefore we must be in the business of building others up. It is what scripture commands us to do, and God knows it is what the world needs. It might take work, and we might have to put a fight, but it is the good fight!