If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. John 13:14-15 ESV
We don’t ordinarily wash feet in our society today. But in Jesus’ day, this was a common, though somewhat unimportant practice. Like taking out the trash, it was one rarely noticed (unless it was forgotten for a while!). Often, we are looking for a gigantic way or some well-advertised program to demonstrate the love of Jesus. But God is calling each of us to demonstrate the enormous love of our Savior through small and seemingly insignificant acts of service. Jesus commands us to love one another and to wash one another’s feet. As a bonus, He promises that when we do what He asks, we will experience a joy that no one can ever take away. Maybe that was the joy that He experienced which carried Him through the tears of Gethsemane and the agony of the cross. So, this morning’s question is, “Whose feet is Jesus asking me to wash today?”
What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Luke 15:4-5 ESV
Yesterday, as I made my way to the second nursing home meeting of the afternoon, I was apprehensive. The facility next door to where we had been holding services for three years, invited me to start meetings there as well. But over the first few months we only had two or three show up. Despite the beauty of the facility, it was like a spiritual desert. Added to my past concerns, was the fact that I had been out the previous two weeks due to Covid and wondered if anyone at all would show up.
As the elevator door opened on the third floor, I recognized a woman named Polly, who had come once before, but she was walking away. “Oh, I didn’t know if you were coming today!” she exclaimed. The door was closed, and the lights turned off and I was just getting ready to leave.” she said.
“Well, I’m here!” I told her reassuringly. I just walked over from next door.” So, I opened my guitar case and set up my music stand, all the while hoping that at least one other person would come, but it was not to be. Polly was to be the only person that day. So, we sang a few of Polly’s favorite hymns together, and then I shared today’s verse, from which I had given a message at the facility next door. The people next door had enjoyed the words, but they took on so much more meaning for Polly, as I was able to assure her that God was willing to send somebody just to visit her – just like that one lost lamb. We need to remind ourselves, that it didn’t matter to the shepherd in Jesus’ parable how many sheep were lost. What mattered was that they were His!
So today, whether you are that lost sheep, or you are called to go find that one, God wants you to know that the power of His love is not affected in the slightest by how many sheep there are that He is out to find. He willingly placed the cross on His shoulder and walked up Golgotha’s hill, so that He could put us on His shoulders and carry us home, one sheep at a time!
I hope you will be blessed by this wonderful rendering of the song “Even If” by Alisha Mullet. It reminds us that whatever ministry God has called us to, He doesn’t forget, will never forsake and His heart burns with love for even just one!
Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:1-2 KJV
The phrase entertaining strangers, in today’s verse can be a bit deceptive. What it means is to take care of them like the Good Samaritan did for the man he found on his road. In our 21st century world we have in most of our communities strangers who are in long term care. During the Covid pandemic they often had to spend their days confined to their room and often no visitors were allowed for months without end. When the unexpected invades each of our lives more often than we like we realize now that we are far less in control of our world than we thought! But even in the midst of awful events, the Bible encourages us that one thing remains the same -and that is the love of God. Even though we cannot do everything we would like to do, there is always still something that we can. Whether we are separated by Covid or by distance, the inability to be with loved ones can frustrating but today’s verse encourages us love those who are around us no matter who they may be. Whether you have the opportunity to visit a local nursing home or of you only have the chance of being a ray of sunshine for your letter carrier, God has put someone in your world for you to show His love today. If we will obey, we could one day discover that we were entertaining angels and who knows what blessings God might have in store for us then!