Wednesday, February 1, 2012

To Serve Is To Love Him

I was watching Joyce Meyers this morning. Her message was about walking in love and to serve others. She used a wonderful example of washing others feet. She demonstrated how Jesus wrapped the servant's towel around his waist and then proceeded to wash the feet of the disciples. She continued that when He wrapped this towel around His waist how they must have gasped at the sight of the Son of God being a servant to others. Joyce then reminded her listening audience that ministry is just that - serving.

There aren't that many ministries that I know of that keeps this practice alive. I know of one ministry that I attended for more then 9 years. I never had washed anyone's feet before, but when Joyce had literally wrapped the towel around her waist, I was immediately reminded of my time in that ministry. We all did this as well - only the women were washing the feet of the women and the men of the men. I recall watching what everyone was doing and the elder women in the church directed the others to tell me what I needed to know. I didn't have an issue with it way back then because I was learning. But when I became familiar with it, I cringed at the idea. Well, it was much like when Joyce started talking about family and having to serve them as well. She always makes things seem so comical but if listening there is a lesson behind the humor that can be practically applied. There I was every quarter (every 3 months) knowing that the pantyhose had to be removed and the towels were at the ready to serve. I learned that it is best to be at the beginning of the line then at the end. It's also better to partner up with people that you know or that at least liked you. This was rare that I got at the beginning of the line. I had my children to get ready and make sure that my husband had socks on without holes and his toenails clipped. By the time all my family and I got to church, the towels were already dispersed and the elderly women that could not get down on their knees were waiting to be served. There was one that still could and was usually who I partnered with. She would hurry to wash my feet without changing the water from the other 9 or so people that were before us. The water would look so murky and I didn't want to put my feet in it. I would offer to get clean water for her, but it was always a reason why I couldn't. Too many in the bathroom, she couldn't be on the floor for too long, she got someone else to wash her feet and didn't need me anymore - so I endured the murky water by gritting my teeth as we sung hymns to finish the task. I remember one time washing the feet of someone that I thought liked me. She let me know she hadn't bathed and the warm water would be so welcoming to her skin. I thought she was joking until I came back to her with a clean tub of water and she immersed her feet in. Within seconds, the water looked as if I hadn't emptied it and got clean. She then began instructing me to literally wash her feet, "Oooh yeah, get in between the toes too." I never had an issue with feet until that day. It seemed like forever as I completed each toe and the instruction to dry each toe as well. "I'll empty the water", I exclaimed when I was finished with her bath. She replied, "What for? You just got the water."
Because its filthy. Father, in the name of Jesus, do You see this? Ewwww! 
There was a ring around the wash basin and I watched what was floating in the water swirling in a circle as if waiting for me. 
Before I could take off running, she grabbed my foot and put it in the ick. I screamed inside as it tried to splash around my ankles. She didn't give me anywhere near the treatment I gave her - and I appreciated that between the yelps I was having in my head. After the feet were washed, the women retired to the ladies lounge to put back on the pantyhose and any other under garments. Between the smells of all of the different perfumes, it was all I could do not to sit on the front lawn to put my hose on out there. After washing our hands, we then all got in line to receive communion, listen to the evening service, fellowship, and be headed home. As much as I didn't like going through the whole ordeal, its funny, I never missed one of those services.

Was it because I was some sort of sadist to keep doing that to myself. I am a grown woman! I make my own rules! I didn't have to go to those services. Why did I attend so many of them? Why didn't I just stay home and dealt with whatever came of it. No one can make me do what I don't want to do! 

Nevertheless, I realize now that without humbling myself to do what I did, I couldn't be the person I am. I didn't know what my purpose was in life when I attended those services. I had a family to manage, a marriage, and I knew I had to finish college - I just didn't know what I was going to major in. Before learning about washing feet, I recall having a conversation with one of the women in the ministry. She was married with children and well into her career. She was asking me, what I was planning to do. I didn't know specifically what it was, I just knew I wanted to be in the corporate world. I told her about how I was going to grow within a company and I didn't care how I was going to get there - even if it meant that I had to step on someone else's throat - I was going to get there! She tried not to show her shock, but it was difficult when gritted teeth, a gruff voice highlighted the intention and I even made the motion with my foot. I couldn't tell you why I spoke like that, the realization of those words weighed on me while I thought about how to get them back (with the expression and gesture). I suppose it really was a hard pill to swallow having that conversation in the vestibule of the church right after services. Apparently the message had no affect on me!
However, as I continued to be faithful in that ministry with serving where ever I could, volunteering in other ways, and still going to those foot washing/communion services, I was being changed from the inside.

It took sometime before I knew what I was called to do. Once there, it seemed like a warm blanket waiting for me. I became a better parent, not thinking that I was a bad one before, until I got where God would have me to be. Patience, love, favor, mercy, grace, blessing was waiting for me there as well. I didn't sacrifice what I wanted to do. I could have stayed home and watched television or something that would have been just as unproductive, but it wasn't a thought to do. I attended services like I would brush my teeth or make up my bed - it was a habit. Attending church was something that just had to be done. Because of this, God met me right where I needed for Him to be. It was so simple, once I got past myself and my will.

I never got to the corporate world, and I don't think I ever want to. As you can see in my profile what my career choice has been for the last 20 years. I have been promoted several times without having to push a stiletto into anyone's digestive tract. God is good.

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