Under certain circumstances, I have a hard time being served.
Today, both kids and I were strugglers. The littles got sick in the night and I was on the verge. My husband was the Ultimate Superhero to us all. He had a day full of meetings booked at work, and yet cast his schedule aside to stay home to serve us. I'm sure that wasn't easy or well received at the office. When I whispered from my bed as he passed through the room, "Thank you for serving your family today," his sincere reply was, "What else would I do?"
Wow. That's a man.
But under these extremely unpleasant circumstances, I have a hard time not feeling guilty for having someone lay down their life for me (and what I consider MY responsibilities, my kids). I am okay with the ways my husband serves me when it's for a fun or romantic reason. I love being loved by him in the many small ways he chooses to make me feel special. But when I see his exhaustion, when I notice he hasn't stopped to shower or eat because he's choosing to keep his hand on the back of a sick child, when I see him lay himself down to sacrificially serve our family, I feel uncomfortable. I don't want to receive it. That gift feels too big, and I, too unworthy.
God brought this to mind tonight. Somethings' awry, He's gently saying to me.
Because being served is kind of a big deal to Jesus. Not as in us serving Him. I mean Him serving us.
Remember during the last supper, in the upper room, when Jesus grabs a towel and basin and begins to wash Peter's feet? (Here comes the Leslie translation) Peter kind of freaks out. This is how the conversation goes (and oh, how I relate to this guy):
Peter: WHAT?! Knock that off! You're not gonna wash my feet. I should be washing YOURS!
Jesus: You don't get it, but you will one day.
Peter: NO! I won't let you do it!
Jesus: Well, if you don't let me serve you, you have NO idea what I've been talking about. And you have no part in my business.
Peter: (Silence for a second) Well, if THAT'S the case, then wash my hands and head too, because I'm all about your business!!
(Peter used a lot of exclamation points when he spoke, I believe. The Bible doesn't tell you that part, but I'm inferring it. For the real version, you can read John 13) I think this is where Jesus smiles to himself about this guy. What passion, what intensity Peter had. He's so compulsive, the way he is literally working out his faith in the moment, and spouting off whatever comes to his mind. I so get that!
And I get how he has a hard time being served. It is not logical, what Jesus tries to do in our lives.
He kneels down in front of us. (What kind of King does that?)
He unties our sandals.
He washes every bit of filth away. Every sign of the earth sticking to us, in us. Despite our calloused soles. He restores us.
Jesus takes a position of humility far below his rank. In fact, His chosen spot is actually the exact OPPOSITE of where He deserves to stay. But He doesn't. He doesn't stay on a throne and shout down to us. He came down to look us in the eye, be our Emmanuel, and then crouched even lower to clean off our grime. Forever. It cost him his life. I'm nowhere close to deserving that.
My husband's service also feels like something I don't deserve. I'd rather power up, perform, and try to earn that kind of love. Earning it, or promising all the ways I can repay, makes so much more sense to me. Don't we all try to earn that which we feel we don't deserve? Doesn't that unworthiness linger under our skin when we are given an amazing gift? But I know that if I don't receive my husband's love, his imitation of Jesus himself in our home, I know nothing of the business of heaven. I know nothing of true love.
Jesus, help me accept all I don't deserve, with grace. Help me stay still while you care for me, instead of trying to wriggle away in my discomfort. Help me receive the great gift you've given me in a husband who longs to serve his family. Because I am so very thankful for it all.
You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.