I am an introvert. I have five children. This is proof of God’s sense of humor. After spending 5 hours homeschooling each day, my ears and mouth need a break. So many words. From me. From them. So then I say these words: Go outside. And close the door.
We are blessed with a big yard and five homeschooling besties next door, so this works. But there is one problem. Dirty feet. (Should flip flops even count as shoes? But I digress.) So several times a day I find myself in the bathroom, scrubbing the backyard off my littles’ feet. I’m not a big fan of this activity. It’s gross. Super gross. For all the diapers I’ve changed and boogers I’ve picked, the foot-washing ranks at the top of my eeewww list.
But it’s not just gross. It’s almost pointless. Because those shiny little feet don’t stay shiny for long. They will soon be covered with backyard again. And we will be back at the sink, digging dirt from between tiny toes. And sometimes while I scrub, I look at myself in the mirror and look at my un-make-uped face, my hair that needs colored and maybe even brushed, and I feel small. I feel like “just a stay at home mom.” How no one will ever know or thank me for all the little things I do for my family. I think about a woman somewhere with her freshly colored hair, in her pencil skirt and stilettos, sitting in some important meeting with important people, thinking her own thoughts and peeing whenever she wants to. I imagine the appreciation she receives, the attention her work brings. And I feel small.
Then I read a story. Maybe you can guess which one. A story from John 13 about a very important person, in fact the most important person who ever lived, who spent time washing dirty feet.
Jesus…rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet…
It isn’t everyday a stay-at-home mom can say she’s done exactly what Jesus did. I’ve never fed five thousand or raised the dead, but, I have washed feet! And so did He! What a beautiful moment of being able to personally relate to my Savior! This seemingly menial task takes on tremendous importance in this new light of revelation.
But surely Jesus didn’t just wash their feet because He was tired of the stink or wanted to protect the floors. No.
So when He had washed their feet… He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? … If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
The sight of God Almighty on bent knee over a basin of dirty water sends a very clear message. That He values service. That humility is paramount. That menial tasks have worth in the Kingdom. In that moment, He saw me at the sink, and He said, “Carrie, I value what you do for your kids. It’s important. It’s the work of the ministry. Keep at it.”
So, what “small” tasks occupy your days? Do you care for an aging relative? Remember to call a lonely friend? Do you work a little extra so you can support a missionary? Do you write encouraging notes to your pastor? Mow your neighbor’s yard? Spend hours in prayer that no one ever sees? Do you work with excellence for a boss who doesn’t seem to notice? Do you serve a spouse who never says thank you? My friend, you are washing feet. He sees, He knows and He is pleased.