John 13:4-17, He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. 6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. 12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
There are very few stories in the Gospels, in fact, in all of the Bible, that are more humbling. convicting, and challenging than the story of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. The Creator washing the feet of the created. The eternal Son of God washing the feet of mere man. The Redeemer of mankind washing the feet of those, who in just a few hours, would betray, deny, and flee from Him. During His earthly ministry, Jesus taught His disciples many great and needed truths, but few more important than this one:
It’s not our ability to LEAD THE WAY that is most important, but our willingness to SERVE THE PEOPLE that is of the most importance!
If you have been in the ministry for any length of time, you know that we are living during a time where “leadership” has become a great emphasis. As one author noted:
Over the last three decades, there has been a seismic shift across the landscape of the church. The advent of church-growth theory, coupled with exponential advances in technology, has created a hyper-pursuit for leadership muscle that has never been seen before. Seminars and conferences have become trendy leadership fitness centers. Titans of business and megachurch pastors serve as leadership fitness trainers, while books and periodicals deliver leadership steroids and growth hormones. The goal of such industry? To create better leaders, stronger leaders, to make and multiply leaders.
It’s interesting how seldom Jesus actually talked about “leadership.” Another author wrote:
In the world, greatness is judged by the power a person exercises over others. In the kingdom, greatness is judged by service to people. As children of the King, we follow kingdom values.
Jesus not only taught this truth, but He modeled it in His life and ministry!
Philippians 2:5-7, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: Are “leaders” needed today. Of course, but our greatest need today really isn’t for more “leaders,” but for more “servants.”
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”