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Servant Leadership

About the Authors: Becky and Steve Furste have lived in Zionsville since 1991 and have been members of ZPC since then. They have 4 children and 5 grandchildren living in Seattle, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Indiana. Steve has been a speaker and table leader at the Great Banquet, served on the Mission Commission, is active with the ZPC Thursday Morning Men’s Group, and now is a deacon serving as a member of the Community Assistance Ministry. Becky has assisted Lisa Price with office duties, was a Great Banquet speaker, assisted with the Food Pantry and enjoyed the Women’s Conferences. They have both valued ZPC's Home Group experiences.

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals for Holy Week. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc devo to 39970. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

John 13:1-17; 33-35

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 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. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

John 33-35
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

As I reflect today on John 13: 1-17 & 33-35, it is such a great lesson for each of us to practice humility as servant leaders to others each day. Jesus teaches us to show humility at all times as we serve others in all situations. As I think back on my 12 years leading our small Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Boone County, I tried to copy Jesus’ example myself (and often failed) to be a servant leader in all that I did each day building houses. What did humble me each day was witnessing the many volunteers coming along side a new Habitat homeowner and doing whatever was needed to build a house from scratch erecting walls, painting, pulling wire, digging holes for plants and shrubbery to laying sod, or making lunches for all the volunteers. During each build over 300 volunteers helped a first time homeowner (usually a young single mom with small children) realize the dream of having her own home. Each and every build these volunteers were truly the hands and feet of Jesus showing the love that he asked of us – to love one another as he loved us. The true “miracle” was the home dedication as the new homeowner emotionally expressed thanks to all who helped to build her home and came along side of her over the 8-week build to offer encouragement, fellowship, and, most importantly, Christ’s love for her and her children. I was truly humbled to see this so many times over during my 12 years with Habitat  – volunteers just wanting to serve and show their love in whatever way possible. Just doing what Jesus asked all of us to do...to love one another.   

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Help us to be ever mindful of your command to love one another as Jesus loved us. And give us the strength to follow your example each day  – to lead a life of humility in everything we do. We ask you to help us to pause this week, the week leading to Easter, and really understand the great sacrifice you made for each of us on the cross. You suffered and gave your life for us so we are free from the control of sin. You love each one of us unconditionally to show us how we should love one another. Thank you Lord for all you have done for us.

Amen

Posted by Steve Furste with

Devotion

About the author: Karen Barnes, and her husband Clay, have been members of ZPC since the Stone Age (actually 1996). They have three wonderful children: Gracie (23), Christina (21) and Noah (10). Yes, that is a big age span and yes, that is how God planned it all along.

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals for Holy Week. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc devo to 39970. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

John 12:1-8

Jesus Anointed at Bethany
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pintof pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Extravagant love. When was the last time you felt extravagant love? When I was 4 years old my family took a vacation to Florida. At the hotel pool I met a kind, older gentleman (with my parents) and we struck up a friendship. I have no idea of what prompted this, but somehow he found out that I liked sweets and he knew of a special local bakery. I can still remember hearing a knock on the door and my father opening it to this man carrying me in the biggest piece of coconut cake I had ever seen. It was a gift of fluffy, white, sweet, unexpected extravagant love. He then brought me a different piece of cake every day for the rest of our vacation. I thought I won the sugar lottery! He also gave me a heart shaped rock that he found on a beach walk. He told me he wanted me to have it because he knew I would have a lot of love in my life. Oh, the power of words. I still have that rock to this day. Extravagant love take two.

When I read this passage I am struck by the extravagant love Mary felt for Jesus which she demonstrates by anointing his feet with a pound of very expensive perfume and wiping it with her hair. Yes, she had a lot to be grateful for. Jesus had raised her brother Lazarus from the dead! Her gift was all at once a public proclamation of Jesus as Lord (“The house was filled with fragrance.” V. 3b), a highly personal gesture of devotion (using her hair to wipe his feet) and a large financial sacrifice (the value of her offering was the equivalent of a year’s wages)[i]. The world, represented by Judas, did not understand this gift. Jesus did. He was about to embark on an act of love on the cross that would literally change the world. Jesus’ extravagant love for the win!

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your gift of extravagant love in the form of your son, Jesus. May we appreciate the true value of His gift on the cross as we fully ponder the extent of the sacrifice and love embodied within. May we learn from Mary’s example and show your love to others through personal actions and public proclamations. It is in your son’s name we pray.

Amen.

Activity

Who can you show extravagant love to this week? It can be in the form of an unexpected delivery of a sweet treat, a letter of encouragement, a choice to forgive, an invitation to church or to Easter brunch, or in any other form that is uniquely you. “And do everything with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

[i] Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, Vol. 2, p. 337

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