We know what it means to be servant-leaders. We must be willing to serve. We demonstrate this week after week in our churches. We will do whatever needs to be done. This is not what we fear.
We will, and in fact we sometimes do, wash other people's feet. Washing feet is not our real fear. Washing feet is kinda cool. It's a Jesus-thing. Serving others, even when not easy, is what we always expected the ministry to be about.
Having someone else wash our feet is a bigger challenge. It is awkward. We feel self-conscious. But, we know we need to be an example. People will watch us and learn. This is not what we truly fear.
Now, try this. Imagine a time and circumstances when you will not able to wash your own feet and actually need someone else to wash them for you. There it is.
It is not meeting needs that we truly fear. We fear being the needy.
It is not the thought of being asked to change a bedpan, unpleasant as it might be, that makes stomachs knot up while hearts pound in something that borders on panic. It is the thought that it might be us doing the asking.
Serving is an ongoing challenge we experience daily in Christian ministry. But, given enough time, we might come face to face with one of our biggest fears and discover a great truth. It will only be when we have finally learned to graciously submit to helplessness and dependency on others our long battle with sinful pride will be finally won.