Serving Someone When You Don’t Really Feel Like It

Sharon JaynesConfidence in Christ, Marriage, Perspective, Praying Wives Club, Relationships, When You Don't Like Your Story 30 Comments

Carley and Dan are a couple who have gone the extra mile…not to go the extra mile. They constantly keep score as to who put a new bar of soap in the shower last or who replaced the toilet paper roll last or who opened a new tube of toothpaste last.

“It’s sort of a contest to see who can use the smallest sliver of soap or use the last drop of toothpaste,” Carley boasted. The contest, as silly as it may seem, boils down to who is going to serve the other. Imagine how adored Dan would feel if Carley began to get out a new bar of soap before the sliver war began or replenished the toilet paper before it was totally out.

If you want to try a contest in your home or with your friends, how about seeing who can out-serve the other! The apostle Paul encourages: “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:9-10 NLT).

When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17), it wasn’t simply an act of kindness. He was fulfilling a need the other people had refused to meet. It was customary in those days for the host of a dinner party to have a servant wash the guests’ feet. There were no Reeboks or Nikes in those days. Men and women wore leather sandals as they walked the dusty, often muddy, roads of the Holy Land. Nothing felt better than to sink callused, throbbing feet into a cool basin of water and rinse away the cares of the day. However, at Jesus’s last supper with His disciples, no servant was available to wash the guests’ feet, and no one volunteered.

So, the God-made-man wrapped a towel around His waist and did what no one else was willing to do. He washed the disciples’ feet. Afterward, He sat down and said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15 NIV).

In Philippians 2:4, Paul tells us to look out for the interests of others, not just for our own. “Look out for” is from the Greek word skopos, from which we get the words telescope and microscope. It means to pay close attention. Whether we are using a telescope to get the big picture or a microscope for close examination, pay attention to others’ desires, dreams, joys, and sorrows. This is especially true in marriage.

Serving doesn’t mean slavery. As Jesus put on the towel and served His disciples, He proved to us conclusively that God’s kind of serving flows from choice, not coercion; from strength, not weakness; from gladness, not guilt.

Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV).

It may be entirely possible for you to serve your husband, a relative, or anyone in your circle and not feel you’re receiving anything in return. However, your heavenly Father is always watching, and the measure you use to bless others will be used to bless you in return.

Here’s something I’d like to chat with you about. How do you think the disciples felt as Jesus washes their feet? What do you think it made them want to do for Him? Two questions. Two answers. Click on comment and let’s share.


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When You Don't Like Your Story

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©2023 by Sharon Jaynes.  All rights reserved.

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Comments 30

    1. Many years ago I was part of a women’s prayer group that met every week. One Holy Thursday we met in the church for a service and started it by washing each other’s feet. I was fairly young and many of these women were much older, with many life experiences and a lot of wisdom. I was moved in ways I had never felt before as my own feet were washed and I then washed those of the person next to me. Many of us were crying. I would imagine that’s how the disciples felt when Jesus washed their feet.

      1. What a beautiful thing to have experienced, Julianne. I can only imagine what that must’ve felt like for you. I would’ve had tears too. Thank you for sharing!

  1. Thank you for timely words again.
    I think the disciples would have felt uncomfortable and embarrassed as Jesus washed their feet. It would have made them feel convicted that they had not done it to him or to their brothers and sisters.

    1. Nuri, I agree with you. I think that when Jesus washed the disciples feet, they were mortified. I also think that the example Jesus was to them, caused them to later dio what He had done for them.

      1. I agree, I think that they was uncomfortable because the man they call Master , the man that made miracles happens, was washing their feet and they probably thought that they was not worthy to have Jesus do this to them.and that they should have washed His feet.I think after He washed their feet.they understood Him saying that He did not think that He was better than them.

  2. I imagine the disciples felt several things: incredibly loved but perhaps confusion as to why their Master was serving them, and maybe some guilt that they did not offer first. This likely set an example and inspired them to do likewise.
    I am in year 7 of looking after my husband who has Young Onset Alzheimer’s and MS. 2 years ago he became dually incontinent, unable to stand or even turn in bed. The toll it took on me physically as I changed, dressed and transferred him from bed to wheelchair was nothing compared to the spiritual and emotional toll when I had to surrender him to Long Term Care because I could no longer independently do what needed to be a two person mechanical transfer. Although I visit him for 2-4 hours every day and feed him at least one meal, I feel incredibly guilty that I could not care for him and allow him to remain at home to pass from this world to the next. However, I have had several young staff tell me they feel when they see us they are witnessing unconditional love that they wish they had in their own lives. My husband loved me through the loss of our son. As much as I miss the couple we were, I love the couple we have become. I wrote him vows at the beginning of this Alzheimer’s journey, and they are posted in his room. He can no longer read them but he can look at the background picture and know this is my promise to love him, pray for him, advocate for him and hold his hand as we walk to the gates of Eternity.

    1. This is an incredible, beautiful story of unconditional love. I am taking care of my husband of 56 years. He had dementia (diagnosed 5 years ago), and he had a heart attack with 2 stents put in, and resulting heart failure. He had the heart attack right at the beginning of the pandemic. My heart goes out to you. It is a challenge to take care of him, and everything that goes along with taking care of our home, etc. Thank you for sharing, so I can gain perspective. You are a great example of unconditional love.

    2. Outstanding Glenna! Bravo! Now more people get to watch what you have been doing for seven years and be blessed. God is using this experience for good (Rom 8:28). Thank Him the next time you feel guilty – it is the great deceiver telling you that you should care for your husband at home. Praise will make him shut up.

    3. Glenna this brought me to tears. The love you have for your husband is so God given. ❤️ praying for your days together to be filled with joy and love. You are a true Jesus lover and follower. And blessed with the holy spirit.

    4. Glenna, I can relate to your story as I took care of my husband for 4 years; he died from ALS at 54 yo in 2013. You should not feel guilty for needing to put your husband into the nursing home. God is using you both as example of His love and how marriage really works. You are making a difference in this world of selfishness and God sees this. I have never regretted being home with my husband, all the care and love I got to lavish on him, and you won’t regret the difficult journey God is leading you through either. Just hang onto Him with all your might, He is right beside you every step of the way. Blessings on you sister❣️✝️❣️

    5. Glenna…what a beautiful testimony of covenant LOVE you’re blessing your husband with as well as the long term care center staff being able to observe it! Wow! You have blessed me with your story here and I pray God’s all-sufficient grace and love bless you today! ❤️❤️❤️

  3. So amazing of Jesus to do the love of washing our feet. They didnt want him to then maybe it was knowing the reason he did that act of kindness.
    I believe they wanted to do as he ask and bless others. They have been a few hardheaded there too. Lol

  4. They probably felt unworthy, I would and they probably wanted to serve him even more, I would. I really needed this as I continue to care for my mom as she is now mentally unable to appreciate it and isn’t aware of the sacrifice. Thank you!

  5. The disciples might have felt embarrassed, ashamed, possibly humiliated but I like to think they felt extremely humbled by what Jesus did for them and received the graces of being served. In turn they realized they are to take this humbleness and serve others.

  6. I think they may have felt foolish and guilty of not being the one to volunteer.
    I think it would have made them want to be more of a servant and act more like Jesus.

    Great story and loved how you put they go out of their way to NOT go out of their way

  7. I think the disciples felt humbled their Lord would do for them what a servant usually did

    The disciples would follow Him anywhere and learn from Him and help Him anyway they could.

  8. I feel the disciples were in a master class about servanthood. They were the example for the future believers! I’m so grateful for their humanity.

  9. I Would think the Disciples Were SHOCKED!! And, as THAT Sunk IN, I’d Suspect, they Felt ALL SORTS OF THOUGHTS & FEELINGS!! Hopefully,

  10. 1). When Jesus washed the disciples feet they probably felt unworthy yet accepted. They probably felt humbled at that gesture and felt loved.
    2). They probably felt convicted and desire to do anything for Jesus. They would joyfully tell the world that Jesus is the Messiah and a true King. They also would want to bow down prostate on the floor and worship Him, because of His humility to wash their feet and love that He displayed to them.

  11. There were 12 disciples so I would think each individual reacted within the context of their relationship with Jesus and the lessons they had already learned from Him, humility and unconditional love foremost.

  12. Good evening my name is Juselda Brown, and I am asking for prayers for my grandson who lives in the UK his name, is Christopher Whyte I don’t know what is the problem, his mother didn’t say I am asking for help to pray. I live in the US. Thank you, I am struggling with knee pain please help me pray for healing. Thanks for your help in praying, god bless your Ministry.

  13. I think they were, most likely, surprised and honored. May have prompted them to want to do an unexpected act for someone else.

  14. I think it would have been very humbling to have Jesus wash their feet and I think that would make them want to follow him wholeheartedly.

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