Thursday, April 9, 2009

More blessed to give, more difficult to receive

Maundy Thursday begins with Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. What would I do if Jesus tried to wash my feet? Because I’ve read John 13, I’d probably let him. I’m not a total idiot. I can learn from other’s mistakes (plus, I hate to go barefoot so my feet stay pretty clean). What would I do if he tried to clean my toilet? Not just my toilet now – that one stays pretty clean thanks to Alyson. But what about my college apartment commode? I’d probably start to squirm. That one didn’t get cleaned with any regularity at all. I’d probably start trying to give the Lord an out, “Jesus, you really don’t have to do that. I’ll get to that later. Why don’t we step into the living room for some coffee.” When Jesus refused to take the out (he always refuses the out), I just might find myself in Peter’s place, “Jesus, I really can’t let you clean my toilet, ever.”

I could say I didn’t want Jesus humbled before me like that because I care about Jesus. That would probably be part of it. But the greater part would be that I would be embarrassed to have him take care of that for me at all. Cleaning the toilet is something I could have done. Something I should have done. Something he shouldn’t do for me. Something I don’t want him to do for me. It’s too intimate, too embarrassing, too close to home. While it may be more blessed to give than receive, in at least a few instances it is far more difficult to receive than to give. We’d rather have Jesus let us do something for him, instead of allowing him to do something for us that we think we can do for ourselves.

But like Peter, our thinking is wrong. To be a part of Christ, we must be willing to receive – not just the help we want from God but also all the help he wants to give: even when his help embarrasses us; even when it exposes the worst parts of us; even when it reveals the parts of us that we keep hidden from everybody else. Especially then. To be a part of Christ requires that we yield all of our lives to him, even the yucky parts. So today, on this Maundy Thursday, before you get to Christ’s commandment to love one another, first you have to be willing to take off your shoes and let him wash your feet. So, where in your life do you still need to receive the Savior’s love?

Peter said, “You shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me”- John 13:8.


Debbie Mendrop said...

I am so glad to read your comments about Maundy Thursday. Bill and I had a discussion this morning, wondering exactly what this day signifies. You enlightened us! We are way too Baptist, in my opinion. He has gone to Holy Week services at 1st Methodist all week, but missed today!

Taylor Sandlin said...

Hey Debbie. Glad to help. Maundy Thursday got its name from the Latin mandatum, which means commandment and is found in the Latin translation of John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another.” Worshipers focus on the events of the Last Supper, the garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus’ arrest on this day.