Monday, August 20, 2012


I watched a documentary about a homeless, mentally challenged man who was befriended by the documentary team. In dire need of foot care, the man accepted the journalist’s offer to help. She cleaned his feet and clipped his unsightly, misshapen toenails. I’m glad I had already eaten my dinner when I watched the gross, vivid scene. It took courage on the journalist’s part to go beyond her task of interviewing by stooping over to serve the man in such a way. Would that I had such a servant’s heart! How about you?


A Servant’s Heart
One time while visiting the Crex Meadows wildlife refuge, I watched a family of red fox at their den. While three of the kits romped and tumbled nearby, the mother lay outside the den entrance and washed a fourth. Holding the kit still with one paw, she proceeded to lick it clean from the nose down to the pads of its paws. She worked with diligence and thoroughness, showing her mother’s heart throughout the entire process. What a delightful sight! And to think she had to do this three more times.

Most human parents also take great care with their children. Many parents go the extra mile for them, willing and content to take on necessary but lowly tasks, the type that often go unnoticed by others. I once had neighbors who farmed the old-fashioned way. They raised four children without the conveniences of a car, a tractor, inside plumbing, or electricity. The father walked two miles to town for groceries, cattle feed, and their other needs. With their milk checks, they gave each of their children a college education.

Their lifestyle brought derision from some townspeople but admiration from neighboring farmers who sometimes benefited from the couples’ unselfish service. 

Many people in our society perform onerous tasks daily. Such people may be easily forgotten, preempted by others who offer more visible, perhaps heroic service. But they deserve as much honor and recognition for their humble acts of service—acts we might shun—as anyone else.

Our best example of humility is Jesus, who not only washed His disciples’ feet but stooped to the lowest, most loving act—dying undeservedly on the cross for our sins. His example should compel us to look for opportunities to serve others, not only with socially worthy acts but with service that may go unnoticed by others. Jesus teaches us to serve each other as the mother fox served her kits’ needs. He used foot washing as an example to show humility and a servant’s heart.

Foot washing means bending over, which is perhaps the essence of humility. Foot washing today can mean performing any acts of love that cause us to stoop lower than we’re used to—cleaning someone else’s toilet, wiping the drool from an invalid’s chin, holding a dirty child.

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)

Lord, give us the will and desire to swallow our prideful attitudes and serve You by loving others in even lowly ways. Thank You for Your supreme example of humility, service, and love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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