Leadership & Faithfulness – Devotional Series
Scripture: John 13:1-17 (NRSV)
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
Oh, Father, as we remember the steps Christ took toward the cross, may His example of leadership and faithfulness to You be mirrored in our own lives.
Have you ever had a day where you’re so excited to get to work that you could barely sleep the night before? Jumping out of bed and gleefully racing through your morning routine just to get to work? Finally, you get there, begin to be this productive mega-employee and then, suddenly, something goes wrong and it spoils the day? I’m sure this is not the case of 99% of days, but there is that 1% where, despite our best effort and mood, it stops short and we shut down. That seems the normal reaction, to let one detail spoil the significance and importance of the work you were so eager to engage in. Yet in this passage of scripture, we find Christ’s response is to continue His work, despite the coming disruption of His ministry. Should we really be surprised at this?
It’s not fair, though. It’s not fair at all. Christ was healing hundreds. He was undoing years of false doctrine and dogma. He was creating the Kingdom on earth! It would be easy to see ourselves in this role. We are about our Father’s work, doing our best and changing lives, yet a detail comes along and threatens to undo all the work we are doing. Would we really blame Christ if He lashed out, telling God “No, I’m doing good here on earth. Not now! There are still those who have not received healing, are hungry, in need of love and peace. Give me more time, please.” This would be a perfectly understandable response to God’s plan for Christ’s life.
Yet Christ choose to humble Himself and set aside that which may have caused others to fall into a trap of anger or dejection. He lowered Himself to a servant’s level and washed the disciples’ feet. Why? Even Peter attempted to stop Him, going so far as to state “You will never wash my feet”. Again, it would not be hard to imagine the frustration and sorrow that could have welled up in Christ’s heart. Here He is, on the way to lay His life down for the World and Peter is causing problems with one of His last acts of ministry. Instead, Jesus responds not only by explaining the need for the action but setting an example of servant-leadership that is a defining aspect of Christian theology.
In the Army, we define ourselves in our mission, serving others, and spreading the Word in everything we do. This has been an incredible blessing to millions and continues to be a light in a dark world that cries out to be rescued. However, God called Christ to be faithful to His will. The ministry that Jesus did on earth was to glorify the Father. He did not refuse God at any time but fully submitted, even in His death on the cross. As we look at this season, are we being faithful to God’s calling in our lives? Are we allowing details to render our mood and ministry fruitless? Are we responding to Him in anger, wanting our own way in His mission? Perhaps we are allowing ourselves to be frustrated with those around us who seem to not understand.
Brothers and sisters, God has called us to serve Him. Though it may not be easy or in line with our own plans, take heart that He has overcome the world. Each of us has been entrusted with lives to whom we are responsible to reflect the love of God. We must be servant-leaders in all that we do, responding with the same grace Christ demonstrated and seeking to follow God’s calling on our lives and not the expectations or opinions of others. Take a few moments to commit yourselves to His will and to sharing your ministry as Christ, a servant-leader.
written by Cadet Brian Perks, Messenger of the Kingdom, USA East