The Problem With Submission…

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” -James 4:7-8

I have a tough time with one word in this passage.
It has nothing to do with God, faith or salvation…it has everything to do with how this word is used in the world, sometimes maliciously, in order to put people in their place.

What is the word?

“Submit”.

I don’t do well with submission.
Honestly, it makes me feel like a prisoner having to obey the warden. (Images of Shawshank Redemption come to mind)…

Perhaps it is because I have personally witnessed that word being used and abused.
Perhaps it is because I struggle with my own need for freedom.
Regardless of the why, there is still the issue with the how…how do I submit…and the ‘who’ – who am I to submit to?

For some of us it is the trust involved in such an act.
Questions like, “what if my trust is betrayed”, and “can I really trust them”?
Many time it isn’t even about submitting to God, but rather authority figures in our own lives; Bosses, business advisors, managers, family members…etc. Then, when we have been burned by submitting to a faulty human-led system, we transplant this disappointment and disillusionment upon God…as if He too is imperfect and will let us down.

I too have struggled with this notion, meanwhile transplanting my own mortal experience upon an immortal God. But have I short changed God when I’ve done this? Do I still struggle with these trust issues? Can I fully submit to God in spite of my past hurts and the numerous failed dumpster fires of attempted human submission?

Maybe I’m overthinking this…have you ever done that?
I’ve counted all of the variables, outcomes, pros and cons way before ever taking a step. My 1st Grade Teacher’s voice keeps ringing in my ear as she said, “look before you leap.” But maybe in this case, it’s the other way round?! Perhaps I just have to go for it and place my all before God when I do.

In James 4:7-8, perhaps it’s more about coming near to God than it is about submitting to Him…because wouldn’t we naturally do that anyway when we really, really know someone? After all, didn’t God come close to us first when He sent Jesus into this messed up world? He met us more than halfway as He hung on a cross for our sins.

You see, I know all of the theological implications of such an act. I know Jesus intellectually, but are there still times when my heart does not know Him…when I’m not near to God, in fact, I couldn’t be further from Him? Have you ever felt like that? We have all of the head knowledge, but when it really comes down to it, there’s a heart issue that still needs working out.

If you’re anything like me, perhaps you’re still trying to reconcile what submission looks like with God. I’ve been on this journey for quite some time, and I feel that the Holy Spirit has led me this far, I’m going to have trust Him in the things I have yet to figure out. He hasn’t given up on me, and I’m positive He certainly hasn’t given up on you either. Perhaps it’s not so much submission that He’s after, but rather a closer relationship with us. After all, doesn’t submission come from a place of trust? I cannot submit to something I don’t trust, and I cannot trust if I don’t come close enough to God.

The trouble with submission is we aren’t close enough to a God who desires a relationship with us…and I’m still working through this. I don’t have a Mary Poppins answer for you, just a notion and a nudge to deepen your relationship with the Almighty…we just might discover that is what was needed all along.

-Something more to ponder today.

Dear Salvationist, Does Nepotism Still Exist In Our Army?

nepotism
From the start, some of us might shirk at the idea that nepotism still exists in The boothSalvation Army.  But we must recognize that even the Booths promoted family to places of authority.  William Booth viewed his Generalship to be something he would pass along to his children, and perhaps his children’s children.  Could it be that this sort of family promoting still occurs in our Army today?  And if so, should it?  Are there checks and balances in place to prevent nepotism in our Army?

Growing up in the Army, I recall many times where my parents were extremely cautious with even the appearance of favoritism towards my sister and me.

Speaking of Favoritism…can this type of behavior come into play with promotions and appointments in our army?  Should it?  Another question to ask along this line of pondering is – if favoritism does occur in our army – aren’t we then shortchanging our movement of possible movers and shakers who could make a difference, but some have chosen to choose people who are familiar and even safe?   crown

The argument can be made that we in the Army ought to trust and leave this up to God to sort out and perhaps these appointments are “His will”.  Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that.  I have sincere faith in a Mighty God that He can make something that was meant to harm into something beautiful.  I believe God makes all things new, and He provides in spite of our own efforts and human decisions.  But I don’t know if I really trust human authority as I do God’s authority (nor do I feel we should)…for that matter what defines “God’s Authority”?  I’m curious what your answer might be to that.  I’m not looking for a fight, I’m genuinely interested in how we define this!   I have to be honest, I have always been suspicious of human authority in the guise of being 100% God’s authority.  It’s not that I’m overly cynical of leaders and authority, I just question sometimes if our personal feelings do not play into many of the decisions that are made on the behalf of others – and thereby we sometimes or often show favoritism.
favor
Submission to Authority
Does this mean that I do not submit to authority?  Absolutely not!  We are told to submit to authority in numerous scripture verses.  For example:1 Peter 2:13-17 says;  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Does this mean that we aren’t allowed to query decisions and ask pertinent questions?  Of course not!  It does, however depend on our attitude and motivation!  I am certainly not proposing that we become rebellious by any means, please do not come away thinking that at all!  I will say that as a leader of sorts in my own right, I do recognize that I will never please everyone by the decisions that I have to make from time to time.  This is the heavy mantel of responsibility and leadership that is thrust upon us.  It does take a toll, and I would ask you to be in constant pray for your leaders, whether it be at the corps level, the divisional, territorial, national and international levels.

Back to the initial question:
Does Nepotism and Favoritism still exist in our Army?
My short answer is yes it does…
But I would also caution anyone from making rash judgments unless you have all of the information.

favor2Questions to Ponder:
Does Nepotism still happen in our Army?
Should it happen?
If so, what does this say to those who aren’t related or chosen for specific duties or tasks?
How can we sidestep issues like this?  Is it possible to sidestep them?
What about favoritism?
Could showing favoritism diminish the ranks our ranks and morale?
Can we submit to authority and still question?
How do we reconcile some experiences of flawed human authority with the expectations of God-led authority?
Am I praying fervently for my Corps Officer, Local Officer, Divisional, Territorial, Leader?

I look forward to your constructive conversation on this topic!
Something more for our Army world to ponder today.
*Disclaimer: The thoughts and views of the writer are not necessarily the thoughts and view of The Salvation Army, reader discretion is advised.

Dear Salvationist – Arrogance Beware!

Luke 18:9-14(NLT)

Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[a]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Beware dear Soldier of the trappings of arrogance, for it can creep into that uniform of yours and corrupt your heart and attitude!  We do not wear this uniform and associate ourselves with this army because we are better than other people, instead we should wear it as as sign of utter humility, servitude to Christ and as a constant reminder of our mission in this world.

selfCould our corps halls feel like an exclusive club to outsiders?  -This should never be the case!  We might become tempted, at times, to puff ourselves up with all of our corps’ accomplishments and fortunes, instead run from such thoughts and temptations!  Do not become like the Pharisee in the parable Jesus told – who was so enamored by his own pride and arrogance that those earnestly seeking were criticized and despised.

No, instead fight this war against pride and arrogance as a Soldier of this army!  We ought to fall to our knees and repent every time we become prideful of who we are instead of Whose we are.   We must recognize and repent every time we aspire to places of position and power out of personal gain and selfish ambition.  Pride and arrogance will poison our army if we are not careful; and although we do good in our communities lest we not forget Who our faith is in and for Whom all of these good works are accomplished.thumb

If we as soldiers exchange this true calling of sincere holiness in our lives for earthly recognition and these temporary places of authority the world bestows upon us, we will have lost it all – and our identity as an Army for God.

Jesus despised the hypocrite and the religious zealot who couldn’t see past their own personal needs and desires.  Beware dear Soldier of the trappings of arrogance and pride.

Prayer:
Lord, make us humble.  May we be mindful of our fellow man – and the hurting world around us.  Give us Your heart and eyes – may we ever be on our knees earnestly seeking after you.  Holy Spirit, instill in us this servant-heart.  Break us of our pride and arrogance. Remove the dross, wipe away the old life.  If need be, remove us from places of prominence so that we may be yours and yours alone.  Lord, forgive us when we have had a divided heart – you want us all to yourself, and there have been times when we have strayed.  May Christ-likeness be our goal as we humbly serve.  Amen.
cs
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

 

Dear Salvation Army, Identity Crisis or just “More than a Church”?

We are an army of soldiers of Christ, organised as perfectly as we have been able to accomplish, seeking no church status, avoiding as we would the plague of every denominational rut, in order perpetually to reach more and more of those who live outside every church boundary.” (Commissioner George Scott Railton)

No church is perfect.
No Christian witness is flawless.
No song we sing can ever compare to the Holiness of God.

Dear Soldier of The Salvation Army,
prayI don’t necessarily see our mission and identity as completely “Church”.
Yes, we celebrate the resurrected Christ.
We recognize Jesus as the Son of God; the only way to eternal life and the source of salvation to the world; but this good news cannot be contained within four walls of a church building can it?  No!  We are called to go out into the world.  Our mission as The Salvation Army is about being faithful to going out into our communities.  It’s not just about feeding and clothing the poor, but this is a starting place!

We should represent the most welcoming aspect of “Church” in our communities to those who truly will “come as you are”!  Many that we have the opportunity to reach will be unchurched, uneducated in “church etiquette”, and having little to no practice in biblical understanding.  Some will know, but life has often times robbed them (whether through conscience choice or beyond their control) of their dignity, hope and joy.  Yet, because of our mission, we have the capacity to welcome them into our buildings and provide for them more than just a morsel of food, but something more substantial – living water, and living bread.

We Are Not Perfect!
Photo Jul 08, 8 07 19 AMThis organization is NOT perfect, it does have its flaws, it’s politics, its issues, as do we all as individuals.
There are numerous social issues we MUST fight for, however, that begs us to put these faults and imperfections aside and get back to work within our mission.  If we can first get past the fact that we are flawed, we are imperfect even within our uniforms, we can make a more rapid response to the plight of people all around us.

We MUST be humble! 

hum
Officers & Soldiers, no matter what rank you are, no matter how long you have served, no matter how “high” you go up in the structure of our Army – know this:  we do not serve as soldiers in this Army to attain rank and position.  This should never be our aim and first pursuit.  Unlike the world around us, our mission for Christ is about winning souls, serving souls, and caring for the lost, sick and afflicted.  We cannot afford to become sidetracked on fame, rank, power, position or anything that would entrap us.  The father of lies would love for us to become entangled in this game of church politics and army power wrangling…because if we do become ensnared in this, we become limited within the scope of our mission and its success.

The disciples of Jesus even argued about this very thing.
They wrangled about who would be the greatest disciple.
They tried to show off, look better, be more attentive to Jesus…it wasn’t what Jesus wanted from them.
So Jesus set them straight:
 “An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” (Luke 9:46-48)

Dear Soldiers, we must be completely humble.
None of us should think we are greater than our fellow soldier.
We need each other and so we too must humble ourselves.
He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)

No, we do not have an identity crisis in our Army…we simply have to recall what our identity is and should be for future generations!  The structure of this Army is to get beyond Church walls, beyond Church boundaries, politics, policy and procedures and to reach into our communities toward those who have been rejected by everyone else.  We must reach into our communities for those who are disparaged, discouraged, disillusioned, drugged out, pimped out, drunk, condemned, and without all hope.

So, what is your identity as a soldier of this army?
Are you humbly serving as a soldier of Christ?
Where is He sending you?
What is holding you back?
Who in your community is the fallen and rejected?
Can you go to them?
Will you show them love and grace and offer them hope?

Dear Salvation Army, let’s keep up this fight!
We are not finished yet!
Our calling still stands – His Holy Spirit will guide us!

Something more for our Army to ponder today!

Disclaimer: These postings and ponderings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Salvation Army.”

Devotional Pondering – “I have to sacrifice WHAT???”

Image

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1

Just the idea alone of sacrificing or giving up something in our lives, at times, seems preposterous.  Why would we ever want to sacrifice anything…it’s an honest confession, and a shared sentiment with many.  Sacrifice can be a hard thing to do in our lives which often include more excess and over-excess rather than “less”.  I’m sure you have heard the phrase “less is more” and in the case of the Holiness this certainly fits, at least in the practical physical sense.  

Question: What are we willing to sacrifice in order to have a closer relationship with God?
Perhaps the idea of giving up something physical in your life bothers you.  Perhaps knowing that the Lord requires this in order to help you grow seems hard even harsh.  Let me ask you this – what consumes your day?  Is it your job?  Is it your pursuit of more stuff?  Are you living beyond your current means?  I don’t mean to pry but honestly mammon or the pursuit of stuff has almost become our worldly false god especially in the Western world.  We see a new commercial on T.V. for the biggest and nicest car and we crave it.  We go to a friend’s house and they show off their new 60′ television with all the new features and we covet it.  Mammon – this pursuit of stuff has a way of choking our spiritual lives to death.  

I’m not saying money or things are inherently evil, not at all.  Some of these things are necessary items and can be used for good…but if it becomes our obsession, then perhaps we have placed things and “stuff” above God.  

Sacrifice requires something from us.  Sacrifice in the spiritual sense means we are willing to think more about our relationship with God and less about our own selfish wants and desires.  Sacrifice is more than just a way of life it has to become a thought process and a lifestyle.  

he (Jesus) humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” -Philippians 2:8 (NLT) 

Image
If we are to become holy in our lifestyles, attitudes and actions, then we have to emulate the very attributes of Christ who became death, took death from us, and in so doing redeemed us.  Humility, in the spiritual sense, goes hand in hand with becoming a living sacrifice for God and for the people around us (regardless if they are good or bad).  

Prayer:  Dear Lord, show me what a living sacrifice looks like.  I have, at times, filled my life with pride, arrogance and things that attempted to replace you.  Forgive me of this, help me to see the threat of mammon in my life and guide me in your truths…lead me Lord.  I long to be like you, help me to see how I can become humble in spirit so that I may be your witness to the world around me.  Help me to see others through your eyes and guide me in your truths.  -Amen. 

 

Devotional Thought – “Lord Humble me, and Cleanse me”

Image

Create in me a clean heart, O God” Psalm 51:10

This is a psalm of David.  He wrote these words after his sins were found out and the prophet Nathan had confronted him.  When someone else knows about your sin, let alone God, the devastation can be total.  David doesn’t try to go “on the record” and defend his actions.  He doesn’t move away or run from his mistakes.  He confronts his sins.  He was a murderer, a liar and an adulterer.  He had been caught, found out, and left wanting.  Yet, David returned to the only place one can return to when humbled by crippling sin – God.  Scripture records this sinner to be “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) but what made David fulfill this kind of criteria in life?  How can we also be men and women after God’s own heart?  

Humility

Image

It should be noted that David was identified as such a man before his downfall; but this psalm and his actions following his downfall should also give us a clue into His humble character.  David was a shepherd as a young person.  He worked a lowly job which, at times, was considered one of the dirtiest and most undesirable jobs.  While working as a shepherd he wrote songs of praise to his God.  He understood where his joy came from and also his blessings.  

Following His downfall into sin, his reaction to being caught was not one of indignation but rather humility and grief.  He had broken God’s heart, and David pens these words of regret, remorse and was in search of God’s forgiveness.  Right relationship with His Salvation was his desire.  Sure he had messed up royally (no pun intended), but he longed to recover that which had been tarnished and nearly destroyed.  Scripture records David tearing his cloak, putting on sack cloth and pouring ashes on his head.  This is a sign of grief and mourning but is also a very humbling picture for us to see of a king.  

How humble are we?  Do we recognize how in need of a Savior we are daily?  We are all far from perfect people.  We all struggle with sin and temptation.  Do we seek after God with great passion just as David did, or do we merely think about Him on Sundays or special holidays?  Our lives were given to us as a gift.  Each one of us comes with struggles and concerns, but we don’t have to carry them alone.  Connecting with The Father connects us with the Divine and unburdens us, but we must first become humble.

Psalm 51:10-12

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Prayer: 
Dear Lord, I confess my sins to you today.  Forgive me when I have stumbled along this path.  Help me to be who You have called me to be.  Restore me, renew me and cleanse me.  I long to be a person after Your own heart, show me how I ought to live.  Instruct me in Your ways, and walk beside me every moment of every day.  -Amen

Kicking in the front door

“Knock and it shall be opened.’ But does knocking mean hammering and kicking the door like a maniac?” 
― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed

Image

We pray and pray at times for God to answer our prayers the way that we want them answered.  We yearn and we groan, and at times we call God cruel secretly in our hearts because of the lack of answered prayers.  Could it be that it isn’t so much about His answer but about our asking?  I cannot be calloused here to say to a dying person that it was God’s will for you to die…of course it wasn’t.  I am not saying either that God is harsh and wishes some to perish from physical afflictions, this is not the God I serve.  We do live in a fallen and temporal world in which diseases like cancer and AIDS prevail.  God weeps with those who mourn and comforts those who hurt…it was never His doing that would create such a sad predicament of man.  

But in terms of our every day prayers, we can become like a SWAT team attempting to kick in the front door of an assailant instead of humbling petitioning before God the needs of our lives.  It isn’t about our wants, but our needs that He will provide (which are according to His riches).  But sometimes in our asking (prayer) we become more like Veruca Salt.  Do you remember the spoiled character in Roald Dahl’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”?  Veruca Salt was a salty, spoiled brat who was given anything her heart desired.  This led to her downfall within the Chocolate factory, because her father could not give her something which didn’t belong to him.  Sometimes our asking prayers can seem like a spoiled little brat, I don’t mean to sound condescending because I too have asked like this.  Then when the answer doesn’t come to us the way that we wanted it, we flail on the floor and cry like a child desperately in need of  some discipline.  

How is your prayer life?  Are you approaching the throne of God with reverence and fear or are you Veruca Salt, intent on kicking down the front door if you have to?  Take an inventory of your prayer life, be mindful that God does listen to us and He will provide to those who ask in faith and that which brings glory and honor to Him.  

“Brothers don’t shake hands…Brothers gotta hug!”

The title I have used today is a quote from one of my favorite Chris Farley movies: “Tommy Boy”.   In it he discovers (falsely so) that he has a brother and so he is ecstatic to welcome him into the family.  The film is a little crude at times, yet Chris Farley had a way of hamming it up for cameras which made him extremely funny.

Do you know what’s not funny in this world though?  Brothers and sisters in Christ facing discouragement and frustrations alone in life.  Why does this happen?  Isn’t the Body of Christ supposed to uplift and encourage?  Where are the helping hands at times to come along those who are suffering through various blights of discouragement?

Paul puts it rather plainly for the early church and for us still today when he says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV) 

Why then, in times of despair, does it seem as if some are trudging through it alone?

Do you remember the story of the paralytic who wanted to be healed by Jesus?  How did he get to Jesus?  He certainly didn’t walk there.  No, instead his friends took the time to care for him.  They took the time to pick him up on his mat and take him to Jesus.  In fact they had to go to great lengths to place their friend at the feet of Jesus.  When they got to where Jesus was teaching they discovered that the house was full of people, there was absolutely no room for them to carry him in on his mat.  So instead of calling it quits or abandoning their friend they instead devised a shrewd plan.  The hefted him, laboriously up onto the owner’s roof and tore a hole in it so that they could lower him down to Jesus.  (Mark 2:4)  What friends!   They took the time to encourage and lift (literally) their friend to Jesus.

What of us today?  Do we take the time to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ?  Or are we too preoccupied with our own worries and our own busy schedules?  These friends who lowered their paralyzed colleague down through a roof could have called it quits once they found the house to be too full of people.  They could have shrugged their shoulders and said, “well we tried” and carried him back home with no change in his living situation…yet they didn’t.  They took time out of their busy schedules.  They went the extra mile.  They weren’t interested in what they could get out of the situation.  It wasn’t about them, it was about their friend, their brother on the mat who couldn’t move.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, there is sometimes a danger of becoming too comfortable in our lives that we lose focus on others around us.  Others who could use some encouragement.  Others who need to hear a word of love and kindness from their peers.  We can’t afford to be little isolated islands or clusters of Church goers who never engage and connect with other parts of the body of Christ!

The poet John Donne once wrote:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee. 

Today, there are fellow Christ-followers who need your support.  Today there are brothers and sisters in Christ who are about to give up because they feel all alone with no one to support them.  Today is another shining opportunity to be a brother or a sister to the discouraged and distraught.  You can be a source of encouragement.  You don’t need to be a professional counselor or a degreed Psychologist to help, you just need to be present and available.

Are you willing?  Are you available?  Ask the Lord for guidance and discernment and then get involved in the lives of other believers which will extend far beyond the pew on Sundays.  Give them a hug, love on them and then allow God’s fellowship of love to penetrate your hearts so that self isn’t number one but Christ is first and others are even before our own wants and needs.

-Just a thought for today.

and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith...” 1 Thessalonians 3:2

“Doing the will of God”

Image

Jesus got up from the table.  Isn’t that unusual for Master of ceremonies to do?  He got up.  He had been reclined, as they did in those days.  There wasn’t a wooden table and chairs as we’re so traditionally used to.  He had been enjoying a meal with His disciples.  There had been some banter back and forth, some laughter over a good cooked meal.  Isn’t that how bonds, throughout time, have been further deepened?  Over a meal, together, they bonded, they shared, they loved.  Then Jesus got up.  What was He about to do?  The room was slightly stuffy, and getting warmer.  There was a humidity in the air which matched the body heat of those gathered there.  As each disciple had eaten their share of the food and had drunken a share of the wine, Jesus did not rest.  He didn’t find the nearest lazy boy chair to recline in.  He didn’t make his disciples go and do the dishes.  He didn’t rest.  Instead, He got up and after wrapping a towel around His waist, He filled a basin full of water.  The disciples were caught off guard.  Some were still chewing the last bits of food and draining their cups of the last drops of wine.  Glances were exchanged, expressions of bewilderment and surprise replaced the revelry of celebration.   

Image

Having wrapped the towel around His waist and poured the water into the basin, Jesus begins to display for His disciples what a true discipleship looks like: a servant of all.  Kneeling down before them, Jesus places himself beneath their dirty, filthy, smelly feet and washes them.  He becomes a servant before them.  He takes on the very job of a household servant.  The son of God stooping down to wiping the dirt from the feet of His people.  Is there any better description or account of doing the will of God?  The actual Messiah, Jesus kneeling down and cleansing those who needed cleansing the most?  Such moments like this had to have left deep impressions upon His followers.  Having the One who had been present at the beginning of creation wiping away dirt from their feeble human forms, what a lesson to learn!  Master becoming servant.  Jesus coming down to their level and preparing them for leadership and for eternity.  

Image

This is Discipleship:

In Jewish custom, a disciple was to do as the Rabbi did.  A disciple went beyond just ‘doing’ what the Rabbi did though, the purpose of a disciple was to become the Rabbi.  Literally taking on his mannerisms, his theological interpretations, his actions…everything to become just like the Rabbi.  Jesus knelt at their feet and washed them.  Jesus displayed for his disciples what they were to become to the world around them…servants of God, serving others.  Jesus even told them this when He said; “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:26-28)  

Discipleship is doing the will of God, not just as a part-time worker, but a full time servant.  Many will commit to part-time work as a servant, but few, when faced with choices of comfort and personal gain will accept that full-time role.  Yet isn’t that what Christ-followers are called to do?  To be full-time disciples in our lives?  Full-time disciples of Christ doesn’t mean we give up our professional vocations and don on ropes of white and live off of the land.  God can and will use you as His disciples right where you are at.  Sometimes He asks us to move and to switch vocations, but many times He can and will use you if you are available for His purposes.  True discipleship though looks very much that Jesus with towel wrapped around His waist washing feet.  True discipleship may take on roles we feel are beneath us, not befitting one from our status…yet Jesus knelt down and washed the disciples feet, are you prepared to do so as well to those around you?  Are you prepared to be a full-time disciple?   

William Law once wrote; “The devout, therefore, are people who do not live to their own will, or in the way and spirit of the world, but only to the will of God.  Such people consider God in everything, serve God in everything, and make every aspect of their lives holy by doing everything in the name of God and in a way that conforms to God’s glory.” (William Law, A serious call to a devout and holy life)  

Do you view your life in this way?  Is everything God’s?  Are you doing the will of God because you are His humble servant?  This is the cost of discipleship, but it’s not drudgery or done with groaning but instead because of love we cannot  help but to serve the One who has set us free.  Are you prepared to wrap that towel around your waist?  Are you prepared to kneel down before those around you and to wash their feet?  God doesn’t need any more part-time workers, He wants full-time servants who are committed to do His will.  

Image

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑