I had been pastoring a small congregation in the state of Georgia for two years when one Sunday morning I decided to do something different. I had always wanted to do what the Lord had done when he washed the disciple's feet. We had never done anything like this but we all seemed to be a very spiritual bunch who took pride in our knowledge of the bible. I thought it would be a great ideal and told several of the members what my intentions were and they agreed to help with the water and towels. I also picked one of the poorest members to wash his feet and he agreed, if I let him wash my feet, to which I said yes.
That Sunday morning was a beautiful spring day which made you glad to be alive and more so in the house of God. Everybody was smiling and seemed happy when I told them what my intentions were. We sang for the Lord and had our regular time of testimony but I had decided not to preach and just go onto the foot washing business. I walked over to the man I had spoken to earlier and told him to take his shoes of. I than got on my knees and placed his feet in a small wash basin and washed them as I imagine Jesus would. I was so touched with what I was doing that I forgot where I was and could only see the fragile foot in my hands. When I looked up the young man was crying and this made me cry also.
Other members than took other washbasins and started to wash each other's feet in the most humble act of mercy and tenderness I had ever seen. The people were happy and ecstatic at what they were doing. I was in such a state of bliss that I forgot that I had agreed to have my own feet washed by this young man. He put on his shoes and then had me take of mine, and then he also got down on his knees and began to wash my feet. A spirit of tenderness settled over the congregation the likes of which I never seemed. It looked like the ideal for the foot washing was a big success until I looked up and saw two male members who were the elders at the time walking out the door.
After the service they arrived at my house with the complaint that this was not for this time and age. They felt humiliated by the experience and the thought of washing someone's feet; they could see no reason for it. I tried to explain that if Jesus who was God in the flesh had done it, why couldn't we do it? But the surprise here was that these two had always been my closes and loudest supporters, what had made them hate this, and why just these two? The answer was in there status in life, they were the most well of in the church and gave the most. They were also the only ones with their own businesses and college degrees. They explained to me later that they just could not see themselves on the floor washing someone's feet, and especially since I had picked the poorest and what I considered the humblest person to begin with.
It took them two weeks of prayer and seeking God before they came to the realization that it was not the act which made them feel bad but their own image of themselves as sophisticated and above this type of thing. Later they would laugh at themselves and told me that when they saw me on the floor they thought I had lost my mind. What made them really mad was the ideal that someone might ask them to take of their shoes so they could wash their feet. I would love to say that now they were ready for the foot washing but they just asked me to let them know ahead of time so they could plead sick.
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