Verse to Remember: The most important person among you will be your servant. – Matthew 23:11 (NIrV)
Big Idea: Be like Jesus and do the job no one else wants to do.
What is the worst household chore you can imagine? Taking out the trash? Scrubbing the toilet? Cleaning out the litter box?
If you had lived in Jesus’ day, it might have been washing feet. Sounds gross, doesn’t it? You don’t know the half of it.
In Bible times people didn’t have cars so they walked almost everywhere they went. They didn’t have sneakers either. They wore sandals which meant their feet got dirty fast.
To make matters worse, their roads could be pretty gross. Most of them were made of dirt, and guess what happened to that dirt when it rained. It turned to mud.
And did I mention the roads were also used by animals? If you think your cat’s litter box is bad, just imagine traveling on streets with donkeys, cows and camels. They didn’t use litter boxes. They would just go in the road. The same muddy roads people walked on in their sandaled feet. Yuck!
So now you understand why people needed to wash their feet. According to one Bible encyclopedia, most houses would just put water out for their guests and let them do it themselves, but wealthy people had servants to do the job.
If you think your chores are bad, just imagine if you were the foot washer. Every time someone would come to the house it would be your job to scrub the mud and, well, others things, from their dirty, stinky feet.
This is the last job most of us would want. Yet, this is the job Jesus chose to do.
What?! I know, right. Jesus is a king. In fact, he’s the King of Kings. He’s God! Why, in the world would he do the job reserved for the least important servant?
Because he was setting an example for us. One night, when Jesus and his friends were gathered for dinner, he wrapped a towel around his waist, got some water and went around the room washing the feet of the disciples.
Jesus’ friends didn’t know what to think. It totally blew their minds. Why was their leader doing the job no one wanted to do? When Jesus was done, he explained, “I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15, NIrV).
Was Jesus saying his followers should wash dirty feet? Maybe, if that’s what needed done. But way bigger than that, Jesus was saying if we want to be like him, we should volunteer for the job no one else wants to do. We should help wherever we can. We should serve people without being asked.
In that way, we can show people how much they matter to God, and we can show God how much he matters to us. And that’s just plain fun.
Think About It:
The next time there’s a dirty job to do, how will you react? Will you complain to your parents about it or jump in and do what needs to be done? Will you fight with your brothers or sisters about who HAS to do it or fight with them about who GETS to do it. Or how about this? What if you just jumped in and did it first? That’s what Jesus did, and that’s how we can be more like him.
Prayer: Jesus, I want to be like you. Please give me the chance to serve people and show them how much they matter to you. Amen.
Talk About It:
1. What are some things people have done to serve you? How did it make you feel?
2. Why do you think Jesus washed his friends’ feet? How do you think it made them feel?
3. What’s one way you can serve someone this week?
Read More About It: You can read more about what Jesus did for his friends in John 13:1-17.