As I sit in a hospital room and watch my mom struggle to take the last breaths of her life, I thought it would be appropriate to share this again. Be blessed.
It is the last night Jesus is on earth with His disciples. Knowing that a brutal scourging and the excruciating (from two Greek words meaning “out of the cross”) pain of a Roman crucifixion was waiting for Him, John 13:5 says Jesus disrobes, wraps a towel around His waist and washes His disciples’ feet.
If it were my last night on earth, I’d want people to gather around me and tell me how great a guy I am and what a significant impact I made on their life.
Jesus washed feet.
I’d want my family and friends kneeling at my bedside, crying big tears while they sobbed and choked and blubbered about how their life just wasn’t going to be the same without me on earth.
Jesus washed feet.
I’d be looking back over my life, counting and calculating my works and the impact I’d made in people’s lives. I’d be wondering if I could have done more. I’d be worried that maybe God is going to tell me all the different ways I could have obey Him better and brought more people into the Kingdom. In other words, I’d be thinking about big about Jim and little about others.
Jesus washed feet.
Jesus had only a few hours left on the earth, and He spent a majority of them teaching others exactly what they needed to live a life for God. Jim would be worried about Jim’s needs at the end of his life. Jesus focuses on the needs of others.
I’ve been wondering just what it would take to respond like Jesus if I knew I was going to die tomorrow. What does Jesus know that gives Him the strength, courage and foresight to look beyond His own needs and focus on the needs of His disciples? Except for the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus spends the last days of His life talking about the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Kingdom of God, faith of the disciples and the unity of the believers. Even though heaven and earth will one day focus on Jesus and the pivotal point in history known as Calvary, calling it the greatest act of love ever known, Jesus still focuses on the needs of the disciples. How does He do that?
I believe the answer is in Jesus’ statement from the Cross when He says, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Jesus knew His eternal well-being was in the loving, compassionate and capable hands of the Father, so He was able to focus on others. Perhaps in some ways I’m still wrapping my eternal well-being in the thin cloak of my good works, so when I think of the end of my life I’m focusing on myself.
Jesus served to the last moment of His life because He knew His purpose. I still struggle with that. I know I’m supposed to love God with all my heart and my neighbor as myself, but it is still hard to keep my thoughts about myself out of the mix. I think it is time to start praying the prayer of Jesus, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Then, and only then, will my focus be the focus of Jesus.
Jim, I pray as you are in that place of watching and waiting, the Lord’s Presence would come and draw ever so close to your Mother, you and your family. We are praying for you.
I struggle with this all the time because I want to accomplish great things in order to have the satisfaction of knowing I’ve not lived a mediocre life. I’ve recently realized all my accomplishments in my life have been mediocre at best. It’s a stinging realization.
We are remembered for what we do and it’s impact on others. Jesus washed feet. What will I do? “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
The majority of everyday people will not make the cover or TIME or gently land a plane on the Hudson or win the Nobel Peace Prize. We’ll go to our jobs and earn a median income and drive a median car. Our spouses won’t look like the Brad Pitt or a Victoria’s Secret model, but we’ll love them and be loved just the same. And God looked at His creation called man and said, “It is good.” And we compare ourselves to the pictures in Cosmopolitan and GQ and think, “What a failure.” Then I read in Song of Solomon 2:14 that God says, “Let me see your face; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and your face is lovely.” NOW I have permission from God to know He thinks I have a beautiful face and a voice worth listening to, and I conclude the greatest accomplishment in all my life will be to love the One who loved me to death. I won’t get an award for it, but in the end it will be His love and approval for me that counts.
Thank you for the words of encouragement and the reflection. I had never thought of the Lord’s last words as something so comforting. I, too, will rest in the Lord and allow Him to be my focus.
Thanks, Charisse. Sometimes I need to turn off the many voices and views that want my attention. Internet, Facebook, television, phones, etc. It is hard to focus on Jesus when about every convenient device we own is focused on making our own life easier. Sometimes we simply need to set it all aside and look to comfort others, which is just what Jesus did. However, His washing of the disciple’s feet was more than teaching them humility — it was preparing them to become minister to the Lord as well.