16 Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. 20 Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” John 13:16-20
Have you ever had a day like this? You wake up determined to make a difference in the world by living for Christ and being his human servant. You spring out of bed, zealous to be the messenger of his love – just the kind Jesus had in mind when he said, “Whoever receives the one I send, receives me.”
By evening, though, the spring in your step is gone, and you wonder what happened. You tried hard to live as an ambassador for Christ. You really wanted people to know that Jesus is the source of your joy and your peace. Yet looking back on the day, you still had a sense that something was missing. It was as if all your efforts were inadequate – not sufficiently persuasive, faithful, or even loving.
Days like this are bound to come, but when they do, we should look at them as special gifts from God. It’s on these days that we are reminded that our human efforts, as invaluable as they are, can still come up short. Just as Peter and the other apostles had to let Jesus wash their feet, the same is true for us. It’s only as we let Jesus minister to us that we will be made fully fit to do all that God is asking of us.
Picture yourself at the bottom of a massive staircase, with Jesus standing at the top. The sight of his glory, and the sense of love coming from his heart captivate you and make you want to be with him. But every time you try to go up a step or two, you slip back. Finally, frustrated and a little bit sore from all your falls, you cry out for help. In an instant, Jesus descends to the lowest step, sweeps you up in his arms, and carries you up to the top.
Don’t let today become “one of those days”! Instead, start out by placing yourself in the Lord’s presence through prayer and peaceful openness. Let him wash your feet. It’s true: You’ll never become a messenger of God’s love on your own. But it is also true that God never intended you to. May this truth fill all of your heart with joy and encouragement.