I didn’t know when I walked into church yesterday morning after a tough night that I was about to be hit right between the eyes with exactly what God wanted me to hear. Sometimes I take Sunday mornings for granted. Not everyone has the luxury of getting up and going to church, or deciding if they have the energy to attend Sunday school. I, however, do. And yesterday, my gratitude for that skyrocketed in 60, short minutes.
Something I’ve been asking myself lately is this: how radically should we love?
Last week, I was sitting on my porch with one of my girls and I asked her if she thought it was possible for someone to love a person too much. She replied that no, she didn’t think so. In the world of counseling, self-care is important and necessary, because you do get spent and burned out. You don’t realize how much you need a break until someone forces you to take one that’s far overdue. But lately, I’ve been asking myself what Jesus would think of the “care for yourself first, care for others later” mentality.
I think we need to return to two balancing truths:
1. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit – His Dwelling Place
2. Through Our bodies, the Kingdom Agenda is Carried OUt Here on Earth.
The pastor hit the nail on the head Sunday morning when he started talking about Jesus’ act of love in the upper room, just before His crucifixion. Everything started to come into focus. In Jesus’ day, there were two kinds of servants: foreign Gentile slaves, and Hebrew slaves. The Hebrew slaves were technically brothers, so they could not be required to do the especially menial tasks such as foot-washing, untying and removing dirty sandals, or carrying their Hebrew master. The task that Jesus knelt to carry out that night made a loud, clear statement to every man in that room. He was coming to them as the lowest of the low, because His love for them surpassed any care He had for Himself. It was more powerful than any political or social barrier. He did not doubt His identity as the Son of God. Rather, He was so secure in it that He was able to stoop to serve as a foreign slave.
The Bible doesn’t tell us who Jesus started with, but as he circled the table with the basin and towel, stripped down to the garb of a slave, I have to wonder what He felt when He reached Judas.
John 13:1 says, “…Having loved His own, He loved them unto the end.” I think the room was silent in that moment, as Jesus tenderly picked up the first and then the second foot of his betrayer; as He gently washed away the dirt from the feet that would carry a traitor’s mouth to the governing officials. Softly, He spoke words of love, urging everyone in the room to love one another with the same, radical, audacious commitment that He was now demonstrating at the feet of his betrayer.
Jesus spared no room for personal comfort when He waked this earth. The closest He ventured was time alone with His Father – and that, He did faithfully. Shouldn’t the same be true of us? He came in weakness, as a servant. We also should be here in weakness – His servants. The banner we bear should carry this mark: “Nevertheless, not what I will, but Your will be done.”
By: Hannah Stelzl (To Be Continued)
Photo Credit: Flickr