Monday, April 30

Grace on Its Knees






She sat down in the back row. Aching. Her heart, aching from too many negative events in her life lately. Her body, still aching from a recent illness. Her feet, aching from standing all day, serving too many hamburgers to truck drivers.


Still dressed in her uniform for work, Grace came to her church’s midweek service, not having time to go home and change.

After the worship time was over, the preacher went to the pulpit. “Today,” he started, “we’ll be doing something a little different. You probably noticed that I didn’t give out the topic of my sermon for tonight. I did that for a very good reason. I didn’t want you to stay away.”

What? All the church members turned to their neighboring pewsitters with puzzled looks on their faces.

“I want us to prepare our hearts for something special tonight.” The preacher then called for the deacons to bring out bowls of water and towels.

A soft moan of “oh, no” swept across the sanctuary.

“I want us to think of the days of Jesus and what servants in His time did for those that entered their master’s house. As most of the roads then were nothing more than dirt, the dust from walking stuck to one’s sandaled feet. Mud or what the animals left behind might be stepped in as well! So, to welcome guests into his home, a host provided a servant with water and a towel to cleanse the dirt from the guests’ feet.

“It does not matter the condition of your feet today, whether you have on holey socks or your feet smell from the day’s work. It takes a servant’s heart to kneel before another, to humble himself or herself, so please submit to the service of the one next to you and offer your service to another with a meek heart.

“What was Jesus’ attitude when He washed the feet of the disciples? Self-renunciation, humility, love, submission. It was a doulos attitude. Doulos is the Greek word for a bondservant, a slave whether voluntary or involuntary, the highest form of self-renunciation.

“Jesus told the disciples that their attitude was to be like His, for He did not come to be served but to serve.

“So, I want you to think of two things: one, as you are on your knees, consider the attitude of your heart. Are you doing this grudgingly, or are you doing it with a doulos attitude? And two, as another washes your feet, what is your heart’s attitude?”

After praying, the preacher softly asked, “Do the sins of others smell to you? Are there holes in their hearts? Are their souls, s-o-u-l-s, worn out just as their soles, s-o-l-e-s, may be? There is no judgment here tonight; only humble service of one to another.”

Every other member sitting in a pew lowered themselves to wash the feet of the one next to them, treating them as a guest in the house of their Master. While on their knees, they looked deep within themselves to discover the attitude of their hearts.

Grace’s first reaction was to recoil: I can’t take my shoes off in front of these people! And I don’t want to wash someone else’s stinky feet!

Jolting her out of her thoughts was the sound of shoes dropping throughout the sanctuary. Submitting to the task, Grace bent down on her knees to wash her neighbor’s feet.

Those that submitted to the washing wiped away the streaming tears from their faces. Others were reticent or outright refused to remove their shoes. Embarrassed, they pulled away just as Peter pulled away from Jesus when He wanted to wash Peter’s feet.

As Grace left that night, she, too, had tears puddling in her eyes, for her heart had changed, just as others had. All left the service with thoughts of a servant’s heart, a doulos spirit...

...with humility: as grace on its knees.

Do I have it? Do I have a willing doulos attitude that will...

*kneel before others with a humble servant’s heart to serve them?
*help them cleanse the dirt accumulated from the path of life?
*not judge the smell of others’ sins?
*comfort the pain of the holes in their hearts?
*uplift the distress of their worn out souls?
*not recoil from the “foot washing” service from others?

A. B. Simpson once said, “Christ made Himself the servant of all, and he who would come nearest to Him and stand closest to Him at last must likewise learn the spirit of the ministry that has utterly renounced selfish rights and claims forever.”

What humble “foot washing” service can I provide for the guests in the Master’s house?

~Lord, wash my feet that I may walk in Your humility and pour out the sweet perfume of service on others as...
...grace on its knees.


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23 Responses
  1. Beautiful post, Lynn. I've had the honor of experiencing washing the feet of a member of our ministerial staff. So humbling. So moving. And so amazing to kneel and tenderly wash the feet of someone who sacrificially serves. God's ways are so different from the world, because His ways are so much higher when we become servants.

    Blessings and gentle hugs,
    Lisa


  2. lynnmosher Says:

    Oh, wow! How awesome, Lisa. Thanks so much for wonderful comment, sweetie! Love you!


  3. Lynn, I love how you so beautifully bring us back to the essence of Christianity. To serve. Not to be served.

    Like Lisa, I have been involved in foot washing services before and although they seemed awkward in our culture they were wonderful reflections of lovingly serving others.

    Love you!


  4. Shanda Says:

    This was beautiful, Lynn. Sad to say, I have never been a part of a foot washing ceremony. Oh, to have that same servant heart that Jesus had.


  5. ol tom Says:

    I love this one Lynn! I'm sure it will always be one of my favorites. It is like a lesson from the Holy Spirit. Very soft and sweet, but very powerful and kindred in getting the message across. Thank you for this, it is one to hold close.
    Sincerely Tom


  6. Lord, wash all of me!

    Thank you for this, Lynn. I love the image of Jesus wearing a towel wrapped around his waist--equipped and ready to serve others.

    Beautifully written.


  7. lynnmosher Says:

    That is awesome that you've been involved in foot washing also, Stephanie. Thank you so much, sweetie, for your kind words. Love you!


  8. lynnmosher Says:

    Oh, yes, Shanda...to have that same servant's heart and attitude. Bless you, dear, for your comment!


  9. lynnmosher Says:

    Hey, Ol' Tom! So glad to see you again. You are so kind and generous. Thank you so much. Bless you!


  10. lynnmosher Says:

    Carol, I had that same thought written in but then wrote it out. Thank you so much for commenting. Bless you!


  11. Beautiful, Lynn. I was able to watch a footwashing a few months ago when the leadership of Equip ministries (John Maxwell) washed the feet of their volunteers. I don't think I've ever experienced one church-wide, though. Thanks for the reminder to have that servant's heart!
    Michelle


  12. Denise Says:

    This was a heart touching post, thanks.


  13. I've never been part of a foot-washing service, and now I sort of want to. I really appreciated your description of Grace and the weariness of the world she brought with her into worship.


  14. Foot washing is a special service...Like the story


  15. Great Post Lynn. Grace is a marvelous gift of God that instills value in each one of us. God Bless,
    Mike


  16. Pam Mosher Says:

    Beautiful post Lynn! Such a humbling experience to serve another in this way. Not only on the part of the server, but the one who is being served. I have had three opportunities to wash the feet of another...my sisters in Christ~ in NE Asia,Mexico, and in my home Church. To follow the Master in this way is to lay all pride aside so that His love touches the inner most depths of our hearts. Bless your heart today Lynn! Pam Mosher


  17. lynnmosher Says:

    Michelle, so glad you've taken part in a foot washing also. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I deeply appreciate it. Blessings to you!


  18. lynnmosher Says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words, Denise. You make my heart happy. Bless you!


  19. lynnmosher Says:

    Nancy, I so appreciate your taking time to visit and comment. I'm so humbled that you liked it. Bless you!


  20. lynnmosher Says:

    Kim, I've been thinking about you. Hope you are well, sweetie. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Blessings to you!


  21. lynnmosher Says:

    Thank you so much, Mike, for your kind words! Glad to see you! Blessings to you!


  22. lynnmosher Says:

    Wow! Pam, you've had some great experiences. So awesome! Thank you so much for your generous and kind words. Bless you!


  23. Oh, oh, oh.

    I have washed the feet of the elderly, trimmed their toenails, lotioned them. Not in ceremony but as part of my job as a public health nurse. But there was still something sacred about that.

    Years ago one bent to massage my feet after a long day of speaking. I didn't see it coming. And it was very awkward. But I've never forgotten it.

    It's much easier to serve sometimes-okay, most of the time--than to be served.