[This post is courtesy of Jean Williams, posted on The Briefing 8th November 2012.]
I’m no behind-the-scenes servant. My love is given to wordy ministries: the nervous plunge when I teach a group of women, the energy that sparkles in a small group, the light in a friend’s eyes when God’s truth sinks in. If I’m honest, I also love the recognition that comes with this kind of ministry. There: I’ve said it.
The humble roles, the practical roles, the self-effacing roles: they don’t come naturally to me. Setting up for a meeting, cooking for an event, serving food, running crèche, stuffing envelopes: these mundane tasks aren’t on my bucket list. I have to fight my inner whinger as I do them. I don’t like this about myself, but it’s true.
I know this isn’t good enough. I know that to teach the Bible and refuse to stack chairs is as far from our Lord’s example as hell from heaven. And so picture, if you will, a recent dinner at our church. My friend who usually organises our meals isn’t there, so my husband and I set out casseroles and collect plates and scrub them clean.
Then there’s this moment. This crystal-clear, earth-touches-heaven, joy-filled moment. As I wash the dishes, it’s as if Christ’s hands are mine and mine his. If it was Paul’s privilege to suffer with him, it’s mine to serve with him(Romans 8:17; Colossians 1:24; John 13:14-17). Hands plunged into soapy water, the grit and grease of food scraps on my fingers, I touch the tiniest edge of what it meant for him to serve.
The One with the right to a universe of worship gave up his own interests, his right to equality with God, and made himself nothing. The King of heaven and earth got off a chair, tied a towel around his waist, and knelt to wash his follower’s feet. God’s own Son was stripped naked and hung on a cross, abandoned between earth and heaven, bleeding out his life for his bride (Philippians 2:1-11; John 13:1-17; Mark 10:35-45 ↩)
Washing dishes is just a baby-step as I follow in his footsteps. But if so much joy can be found in such a simple task, I wonder what else we miss out on when we refuse to serve.