March 13, 2008

A Towel

John 13:1-5

Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
John 13:1


Jesus had a lot to say to his disciples before his crucifixion (see John 14:1-16:33). But before saying those things, he offered his disciples a visual parable. Jesus put a towel around his waist and washed their feet. In doing so, he showed them “the full extent of his love.”

I’m writing these words after spending about three hours in the hospital visiting a young man who was taken off life support after a drug overdose. We read from Scripture, we prayed prayers of blessing, we cried, and we hugged. The group included friends, some struggling with the same addictions, who needed to be loved. We figuratively washed each others’ feet.

Here’s a favorite saying that has guided much of my work in ministry: “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.” Jesus’ own ministry was saturated with the love and care that earned him a hearing from the crowds. And he invites us to follow his example as footwashers. Jesus is looking for people to transform this world and its culture. Just sharing his teachings isn’t enough. People will be drawn to Christ and his church by those who show in compelling ways what it means to be a Christian. Michael Card sings in one of his songs, “Day after day we must take up the basin and towel.”

Do you need to serve someone in some way today?

Remind us, Father, that we are servants first of all. Bring me to someone today whom I can serve rather than being concerned about being served. In your name I pray. Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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