Am I completely nuts? Do I have OCD? No. This is just life for most of us who live with multiple people occupying the same space who occasionally like to eat. And make messes.
Today I’ve been wrestling with John 13. It’s the passage where Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. A familiar phrase took on new meaning for me today; “Jesus took a towel…”
If I had a dime for every counter I’ve wiped with a paper towel, or child-size body I’ve wrapped with a bath towel, or every spill I’ve cleaned with a dish towel, I could probably buy myself some pretty spiffy stuff. I’m guessing you could, too. I’ve had towels I received as wedding gifts that now serve as cleaning rags, they’ve been used so frequently. I’ve folded more towels than I could possibly count, sometimes standing in the laundry room; often while watching TV sitting on our family room floor.
But in all these years I’ve never thought of my towels as holy. Or more accurately, I’ve rarely paused to consider the work I’ve performed with a towel in my hand was somehow pleasing to God. I’ve never paused long enough to think I might be most like Jesus when I’m using a towel. Or that the moments I’ve served my family with a towel made God look down on me and smile.
And yet, there it was this morning … Jesus took a towel.
After washing their feet, one by one, Jesus explains his actions:
“Do you understand what I have done? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am … I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”
In other words, if you want to be like Me, grab a towel.
These were Jesus’ final instructions to those who would carry on his message of love and salvation. What really intrigues me is what Jesus didn’t say and what Jesus didn’t do.
He didn’t take a selfie, or post his actions on Facebook or tweet a clever tag line. He didn’t need to because he wasn’t promoting himself. He was humbling himself.
In this social-media driven world where everyone longs for their 15 minutes of fame, where photo-shopped pictures portray plastic images, Jesus shows us how to be authentic.
Jesus shows us how to live real.
As it turns out authentic Christianity is much simpler than most of us think it is, though simple rarely equates with easy. Following God—really following God—happens in the daily, routine moments of our lives. The moments where we love and care for one another in the most basic of ways.
The media tells us to craft our image. God wants us to care for human beings made in His image.
God doesn’t care if we’re well-known; he cares if those around us are well-loved.
He isn’t consumed with how much we’ve got, he’s consumed with how much we give.
God doesn’t need me to attempt an important something if I’m neglecting a more important someone.
Jesus doesn’t make following His example complicated or becoming like Him confusing. I love that about Jesus.
If I want to be more like Jesus I can start with this … grab a towel.