He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" 7 Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand." 8 Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me."...14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:4-8, 14-17. ESV.)
I love this scripture because it reminds me of what love produces in serving others from the heart. Matthew 12:34 says, "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." And honestly, I think that goes for "works" as well. It is so evident when a person is tenderhearted, compassionate, empathetic, and most importantly, Christ like in their words and actions as opposed to being "whitewashed tombs" (Matthew 23:27) beautiful in appearance but ugly and dead on the inside...shallow and prideful.
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:2-5. ESV.)
I am always thankful (though it is usually painful) when God gives me small glimpses into the hearts of others. This weekend I saw the precious, stunningly gorgeous heart of a servant in love with her Lord and His bride (the body). She put things on hold one day and went that extra mile (that only comes from love) to serve me and my children. It was touching, memorable, and inspiring. It makes me stop and think, "Now THAT is what a true follower of Christ looks like!" I do not know how easy or difficult it was for her to do what she did for us but it was more priceless than words can express. Not because of the act itself but because it was heartfelt and significant on a deeper level. It was a sacrifice of self, and whatever she otherwise had planned for that day (and this is one very busy lady), for a fellow sister in Christ. (Thank you, Chrissy! I saw Christ in you!)
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:1-11. ESV.)
I am so thankful for Chrissy's example. Lord, I beg you, please keep my ears turned toward You and my eyes focused on You. Please halt me in my tracks so that I may serve someone who is in need of a reflection of Christ Jesus. Please do not allow me to become too engrossed in my own life or agenda to stop and see what You have placed right in front of me. All honor and glory are Yours!
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12. ESV.)